If I’m allowed a moment of sarcasm, cancer is the gift that keeps on giving. Surviving cancer and even getting rid of the disease completely is often just the beginning of the journey for those unfortunate enough to suffer from the condition. Their lives are usually riddled with complications from the treatments, and their immune systems are so compromised that they often find themselves to sport multiple illnesses simultaneously.
And when the cancer survivor is a child, or someone with their whole life ahead of them, it’s even worse. It’s even worse because you know they’ll be tired. You know they’ll be sickly and struggling for the rest of their lives. In fact, according to a new study from the Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, childhood cancer survivors often feel middle aged, at least health-wise.
Quality of life
Published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, the study looked at the data collected from thousands of cancer survivors. The results were pretty dire, as among 18 to 29-year-olds scores related to the quality of life and to their health were very similar to those of the adult population in their 40s.
These cancer survivors often age way before their time because of their ordeal, with the findings actually indicating some sort of accelerated aging. But of course, researchers are eager to start working on ways to attempt preventing this horrible condition affecting young cancer survivors everywhere.
More diseases for cancer survivors
Sadly, the situation is worse than anticipated, with previous research showing that childhood cancer survivors have higher chances of developing other conditions because of their weakened states and mostly compromised immune systems.
Some of the conditions reported to be fairly common n young cancer survivors would be infertility, lung disease, heart disease, as well as other cancers and other chronic conditions. These are primarily associated with the treatments they undertook for the original cancer – radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and even repeated surgery.
According to the scientists behind the study, there is one main indicator that suggests which patients are going to suffer from this accelerated aging and which aren’t – chronic health problems. The more of these chronic health conditions cancer survivors go through, the bigger their chances of feeling much older than their years.
But sadly, that’s not as small a number as you might think. In fact, looking a study consisting of more than 7,000 childhood cancer survivors, the team determined that only about twenty percent of them managed to get away without any chronic conditions as follow-ups to their treatments.
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