Lifestyle changes can
lower risk of metabolic syndrome in childhood cancer survivors later in their
life, reveals a new study published online in the journal Cancer, a peer reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society. The
study was conducted by researchers at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in
Memphis to investigate whether lifestyle habits might affect cancer survivors'
risk of developing the metabolic syndrome.
is a cluster of symptoms such as high blood pressure
abnormal cholesterol, high glucose levels, and obesity
that increase the likelihood of heart disease,
and other serious conditions.
In their early study,
the researchers found that 56 percent of childhood cancer survivors
48 percent of survivors suffered from neurocognitive impairment including memory problems
The study found that childhood cancer
survivors who were cancer-free for at least 10 years and lead an unhealthy
lifestyle are two times more likely to have the metabolic syndrome than those
who followed the healthy lifestyle guidelines.
Having said that,
studies exploring lifestyle habits among survivors of childhood cancer reported
that only -
21 percent of
childhood cancer survivors met the guidelines for
fruit and vegetable
84 percent obtained
more than 30 percent of their calories from fat.
Less than half (48
percent to be precise) of childhood cancer survivors were meeting exercise
found that the barriers to adopting healthier lifestyle habits was either being
too tired or too busy; not belonging to a gym; visual appeal of fatty foods; or
even consumption of fatty foods
in social situations. But a major barrier is the lack of
knowledge about choosing healthier options.
Given the increased
vulnerability to disease among survivors of cancer and the growing population
of cancer survivors, research is now focusing on unique needs for effective
lifestyle intervention programs for survivors of childhood cancer.
Findings of the
present study indicate that children with cancer and adults who had cancer when
they were children 'should receive information about how their lifestyle may
influence their long-term health'.
survivors should not smoke. In addition, adopting a lifestyle that includes
maintaining a healthy body weight, regular physical activity
, and a diet that includes fruits
and vegetables and that limits refined sugars, excessive alcohol
, red meat, and
salt has potential to prevent development of the metabolic syndrome,' suggested
lead author of the study Dr. Kirsten Ness. Childhood Cancer in India
In India, approximately
50,000 children develop cancer each year and many of them go undiagnosed or do
not get adequate treatment, according to Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and
Research Centre. Only about 15 to 20 percent of children with cancer
get proper cancer
treatment. Unfortunately, about 40 to 50 percent of them drop out of treatment.
Fortunately, cure rate is high.
Leukemia and lymphoma
(Hodgkin's) are the common childhood cancers found in India. However, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
caused by mutation due to external factors like pollution also affects a very high percentage of children with cancer.
Here are some facts and
figures on childhood cancer in India -
In India, cancer is the 9th common cause for the deaths
among children between 5 to 14 years of age.
The proportion of childhood cancers relative to all
cancers in -
Boys: 0.8 to 5.8 percent
Girls: 0.5 to 3.4 percent
The highest incidence of cancers is observed for boys
than girls. But this is not a definitive fact since many girls with cancer are
not registered with National Cancer Registry Program.
incidence of childhood cancer is seen in southern region of India and the
lowest in North-east.
and lymphoma are the commonest malignancies in boys whereas leukemia and brain tumors are
commonest in girls. Childhood
Cancer and Childhood Cancer Survivor Facts
In developing and underdeveloped countries, 200,000
children diagnosed with cancer each year have limited access to curative
treatment, and only about 25 percent survive.
, diabetes, and
congenital disorders put together take fewer lives than cancer alone.
Some brain cancers
are terminal upon diagnosis and no new protocols have been
developed in 30 years.
Cancers such as neuroblastoma and disseminated medulloblastoma
are terminal if they progress or recur.
Cancer treatments can affect a child's growth, fertility
, and endocrine
system. Physical and neurocognitive disabilities are probable side effects of
Radiation therapy on the brain of the child can
significantly damage the child's cognitive functions.
Childhood cancer survivors are at high risk for secondary
cancers later in life.
74 percent of childhood cancer survivors suffer from
chronic illness, 40 percent of them severe or fatal.
Childhood cancer survivors can be permanently
Childhood cancer survivors may suffer from depression