Certain therapies may put kids diagnosed with cancer at the risk of obesity in later stages of life, suggests a new study.
The findings suggest the need for effective counseling and weight loss interventions for certain childhood cancer survivors.
"Also, the ability to identify patients at increased risk may guide selection of therapeutic protocols that will maximize treatment outcomes while simultaneously minimizing the risk of long-term complications among children diagnosed with cancer," said one of the researchers Kirsten Ness from St.Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, US.
The study included 1,996 survivors previously treated for cancer at St.Jude who had been diagnosed with cancer at least 10 years ago. The researchers found that 47% of survivors, who had received cranial radiation were obese, compared with 29.4% of survivors who had not received cranial radiation.
Cranial radiation is used to prevent or delay the spread of cancer to the brain. The likelihood of obesity increased among survivors treated with cranial radiation who had also received glucocorticoids, or who were younger at the time of diagnosis. Also, certain variants in genes involved with neurons' growth, repair, and connectivity were linked with obesity among survivors treated with cranial radiation.
Survivors who had been treated with chest, abdominal, or pelvic radiation were half as likely to be obese as those who did not receive these treatments.