Childhood cancer survivors' late mortality risk 4 times higher: Study

A study by researchers at Memphis, Tenn.-based St. Jude Children's Research Hospital found adult survivors of childhood cancer have four times higher risk of late mortality, even 40 years after their cancer diagnosis.

The study, published April 5 in The Lancet, evaluated the causes of death in more than 34,000 survivors of childhood cancer who were diagnosed at an age younger than 21 in the U.S. and Canada. The 40-year cumulative all-cause mortality was 23.3 percent with 51.2 percent of deaths from health-related causes.

The top three health-related causes were cancer, heart disease and cerebrovascular disease. However, the study also said survivors with a healthy lifestyle and absence of hypertension and diabetes were 20 percent to 30 percent less likely to die of a health-related cause despite other factors.

The study is the first to find specific primary causes of death in long-term survivors, which are many of the same leading causes of death in the nation, according to an April 5 St. Jude Children's news release.

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