Researchers at University of Minnesota in Minneapolis suggest that children who have survived cancer are often at an increased risk of heart disease, even in their childhood, due to treatment-related changes to their arteries.
The researchers conducted their study on a group of 300 boys and girls between 9 and 18 years of age, all of whom had survived for at least five years after being diagnosed with leukemia or cancerous tumors.
The researchers compared their artery stiffness, thickness and function with that of 200 siblings who did not have cancer and found that the artery function in those who had survived cancer was lower by 9 percent compared to those who did not have cancer.
"Given this increased risk, children who survive cancer should make lifestyle changes to lower their cardiovascular risk. Health care providers who are managing chemotherapy-treated childhood cancer survivors need to monitor cardiovascular risk factors immediately following the completion of their patients' cancer therapy", lead researcher Donald Dengel said.