The findings suggest that efforts to reduce exposure to the most toxic effects of anticancer treatment, including radiotherapy, seem to be working.
Many adult survivors of childhood cancer are at risk of early death and long term health conditions related to treatment. For example, cardiac radiation can cause heart and circulatory problems in later life.
Years - Cancer - Therapy - Cure - Rates
In recent years, cancer therapy has focused on improving cure rates while trying to minimise long term adverse effects, but the impact of these changes in survivors is not clear.
To fill this evidence gap, US researchers set out to assess whether these changes are associated with altered risks for cardiac events among adult survivors.
Findings - Adults - Childhood - Cancer - Survivor
Their findings are based on more than 23,000 adults from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study who had survived the most common childhood cancers, diagnosed before age 21 and treated in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.
Using questionnaires, five cardiac conditions -- heart failure, coronary artery disease (narrowing of arteries), heart valve defects (valvular disease), damage to the heart tissue lining (pericardial disease) and heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias) -- were recorded.
Risk - Factors - Diabetes - Blood - Pressure
Cardiovascular risk factors, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, smoking, exercise and weight, were also recorded.
The number of survivors exposed to cardiotoxic chemotherapy increased in more recent decades, but the proportion receiving higher doses decreased. Exposure to cardiac radiation declined from 77% of survivors treated in the 1970s to 40% treated in the 1990s.
Account - Factors - Risk - Artery - Disease
After taking account of potentially influential factors, risk of coronary artery disease decreased significantly from 0.38% in the 1970s to 0.24%...
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