Childhood Cancer Survivors Often Forgo Screening

Those at average risk for second cancer may have better adherence than those at high risk
By Lindsey Marcellin
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Oct. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Many childhood cancer survivors who are at high risk of second malignancies are not undergoing recommended screening procedures, according to a study in the Oct. 5 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Paul Craig Nathan, M.D., of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study of 4,329 male and 4,018 female survivors of childhood cancer using results of a questionnaire assessing screening and surveillance for new cancers. The purpose of the study was to determine the level of adherence to recommended cancer screening guidelines for survivors at average and high risk for a second malignancy.

The researchers found that average-risk female survivors reported a reasonable rate (80.9 percent) of screening Pap smears at recommended time intervals; 67.0 percent reported mammography within the recommended period. High-risk female survivors reported lower mammography rates (46.2 percent). Both male and female high-risk survivors had lower rates of colon and skin cancer screenings (11.5 and 26.6 percent, respectively).

"Clinicians who care for survivors of childhood cancer must implement and evaluate methods for ensuring better adherence with recommended cancer surveillance and for improving awareness among both the survivors and the primary care clinicians who care for these persons as they age," the authors write. "This should include provision of a treatment summary and care plan to all survivors of childhood cancer before their transition out of a pediatric cancer center."

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