Children who survived brain tumours might face health challenges, as they grow older, a recent study has said.
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital investigator Kirsten Ness and colleagues said the findings underscore the need to work with current brain tumour patients to preserve and enhance their fitness and to develop strategies to help long-term survivors maximize their potential.
"If survivors were more fit, they might have better access to their communities. They might be able to get out more, find a job and live independently," said Ness.
"The survivors we tested were young adults, half between the ages of 18 and 22, but their muscle strength and fitness was similar to that of 60- to 65-year-olds," she added.
Researchers travelled to participants' homes to conduct a variety of tests, focusing primarily on physical performance. Although some survivors were just as fit as their cancer-free peers, investigators found that as a group the survivors were weaker, less fit and more likely to be obese.
Age at diagnosis, rather than tumour type or other factors, was the only predictor of later weakness or poor endurance.
Those at greatest risk were younger than age 5 at diagnosis, Ness said.
The study was published recently in the journal Cancer.