News / 

Health Tips

Save Story
Leer en espaƱol

Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

Sep 24, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- HEALTH PROBLEMS FOR YOUNG CANCER SURVIVORS

Nearly half of childhood cancer survivors suffer at least one significant health problem later in life. According to new research by the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and 25 other institutions, the problems are caused either by the lingering effects of cancer or the cancer treatment. Late effects of therapy can include second cancers, heart and lung disease, infertility, obesity, hypertension and endocrine dysfunction. Almost 20 percent of survivors showed signs of psychological distress. The study also found women are 40 percent more likely than men to suffer long-term problems. Although survival rates for childhood cancers now exceed 78 percent, resulting in a growing population of long-term survivors, researchers said, "virtually all organ systems can be affected by radiation, chemotherapy or surgery, leading to a wide array of potential effects later in life. This study tells us that children who survive cancer need to be periodically evaluated for the rest of their lives. We hope physicians become more aware of the risks and are cognizant of the problems survivors face." The researchers said they hope the findings will lead to new guidelines for providing health care for pediatric cancer survivors as they grow older.


A recent study recommends early drug therapy for individuals at risk for the neurological disease multiple sclerosis. Researchers at the Multiple Sclerosis Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston tested the effectiveness of treatment with the drug Avonex when first used within a month after initial symptoms and before a definite diagnosis, compared to beginning treatment more than two years after the onset of symptoms. After five years, early Avonex therapy was more successful in slowing the progression of MS, although even late therapy proved beneficial, researchers said. "Being able to initiate very early treatment could significantly delay the onset of severe neurological symptoms -- including loss of vision, mobility and cognitive ability -- in this young population." Affecting nearly 1 million people worldwide, MS is the most common disabling illness in young adults, but its initial symptoms -- pins and needles sensations in a limb, electrical sensations, non-specific dizziness or extreme fatigue -- are diverse, erratic, and therefore difficult to detect.


Combining two types of osteoporosis drugs may not have the synergistic effect researchers had once supposed. The drugs -- bone-building parathyroid hormone, or PTH, and resorption inhibiting bisphosphonates -- are sometimes prescribed together to treat patients with low bone density, the thinking being that the two compliment each other by fostering the natural cycle of bone growth and resorption in the body. Now, a study at the University of California San Francisco finds that the combination is no better than either drug alone, and may even be slightly less efficient in achieving higher bone density.


Hormones and drugs commonly prescribed to control blood pressure also work to control malaria infection. Researchers at Northwestern University have found beta-blockers are a relatively cheap and effective treatment against the deadliest and most drug-resistant strain of malaria, which kills more than 1-million children each year. Rather than targeting the malaria parasites themselves, however, like most anti-malarial drugs, beta-blockers work on human blood cells. By limiting the expression of certain blood proteins, beta-blockers essentially close the gateway that malarial parasites use to enter the cells after a mosquito bite injects them into the blood stream. This prevents the most traumatic phase of the disease -- when blood cells that have acted as parasite-incubators explode and flood the body in overwhelming numbers -- and allows the human immune system to catch up. "Since beta-blockers are directed against a host target, there is low chance of rapid emergence of resistance to these drugs. Moreover, they may be used in combination therapy with existing drugs against parasite targets," researchers said.

(Editors: For more information on CANCER SURVIVAL, contact Steve O'Brien at 214-648-3404 or For MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS, Bonnie Prescott at 617-667-7306 or For OSTEOPOROSIS, Eve Harris at 415-885-7277 or For MALARIA, Elizabeth Crown at 312-503-8928 or

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

Most recent News stories


Get informative articles and interesting stories delivered to your inbox weekly. Subscribe to the Trending 5.
By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

KSL Weather Forecast