Young Hodgkin Survivors Face Later Risk of Second Cancers

SUNDAY June 1, 2008 -- People who survived Hodgkin disease when they were children or adolescents are much more likely than other people to develop certain cancers, says a new study.

Hodgkin disease (HD), a cancer of the lymph nodes, has a cure rate of more than 90 percent, but survivors may be at future risk of developing second cancers other than HD, according to background information in the study.

Researchers at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y., examined the frequency and risk factors related to developing second cancers among 182 patients who were up to age 19 years at the time of HD diagnosis between 1960 and 1989. The patients were followed through the end of 2006.

Of the 182 patients, 27 (15 percent) developed at least one second cancer, and 12 (7 percent) were diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma.

Thyroid and breast cancers, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma were the most common types of secondary cancers in both male and females. These cancers occurred six times more often than would be expected in a group of people who hadn't been treated for HD.

Among HD patients, basal cell carcinoma was 17 times more common in males and 12 times more common in females than in the general population.

There wasn't an association between the occurrence of second cancers and previous chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery, the researchers concluded.

The study was expected to be presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, in Chicago.

The researchers said the findings help quantify the risk of secondary cancers in HD survivors and highlight the importance of long-term follow-up and counseling about cancer screening/surveillance and healthy behaviors.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more about Hodgkin disease.

Posted: June 2008


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