A new study says that childhood cancer survivors may have an increased risk of diabetes, particularly those who received total body or abdominal radiation.
The study has been published in Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
To reach eth conclusion, Lillian R. Meacham, M.D., of Emory University and AFLAC Cancer Center and Blood Disorders Service, Atlanta, and colleagues compared the prevalence of diabetes in a sample of 8,599 childhood cancer survivors (diagnosed before age 21 between 1970 and 1986) and 2,936 randomly selected siblings of the survivors (average ages 31.5 and 33.4 at follow-up in 2003, respectively).
Medication use, treatment exposures (including irradiation, or exposure to radiation treatments) and factors that may have modified the risk of diabetes were noted.
Of the survivors, 218 (2.5 percent) reported having diabetes, while 49 (1.7 percent) of siblings reported having the condition.
"After adjustment for body mass index, age, sex, race/ethnicity, household income and insurance, the survivors were 1.8 times more likely than the siblings to report diabetes mellitus, with survivors who received total body irradiation, abdominal irradiation and cranial irradiation at increased risk," the authors write.
"Survivors who were treated with abdominal irradiation were 2.7 times as likely to report diabetes mellitus as those who were not treated with abdominal irradiation or total body irradiation; those treated with total body irradiation were 7.2 times as likely to report diabetes mellitus," they added.
Survivors diagnosed with cancer before age 5 were 2.4 times more likely to report diabetes than those diagnosed in late adolescence (from ages 15 to 20).