Childhood cancer survivors at risks for heart problems soon afte - WNCN: News, Weather

Childhood cancer survivors at risks for heart problems soon after treatment

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A new study suggests children treated for cancer are showing signs of heart issues soon after treatment.

Director of Hematology and Oncology at the James and Connie Maynard Children’s Hospital at Vidant Medical Center, Dr. Beng Fuh, says doctors have known about a link between chemotherapy and long-term heart problems. However, this new study suggests increased risks in childhood cancer survivors within five years of being diagnosed.

“Chemotherapy in general will cause damage to growing tissue and cause damage to conduction in the heart. So, you have to assume that most chemotherapy drugs will have some injury to the heart, ” said Fuh.

Fuh says one way researchers are trying to do that is by developing chemotherapy with less damaging side effects.

“Luckily we are now going to class of chemotherapies that  are more targeted. My hope is as we use more and more targeted therapies we will not have these side effects that effect every organ of the body,” said Fuh.

The study tested 319 children who survived cancerous tumors or leukemia. It then compared their arteries to those of their cancer-free siblings. The study found children who had been treated for cancer showed signs of premature heart disease, and leukemia survivors showed a 9% decline in their arterial health.

Fuh says while this study is limited, this is good starting point for physicians to keep a closer eye on the cardiovascular health of childhood cancer survivors.

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