Some of the most successful treatments to cause remissions in cancer are found among children. Researchers in cancer survival from Denmark, Iceland and Sweden found that young patients that survive their early treatments are 40% more likely to suffer an autoimmune disease 15 to 19 years after cancer treatment.
The study was published by Healthfinder.gov on Nov. 11, 2015. It is titled “Childhood Cancer Tied to Raised Risk for Other Ills in Adult Life.” Dr. Anna Sallfors Holmqvist, of pediatric oncology and hematology at Skane University Hospital in Lund, Sweden was the lead author of the report. Some of the conclusions of the study include:
- Autoimmune disease occurrence was more prevalent, with diabetes and Addison’s disease (adrenal gland) making up over 50% of cases. Thyroid diseases were also higher than expected.
- Survivors of childhood leukemia, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, kidney cancer and central nervous system tumors are about 60% more likely to develop autoimmune diseases
- The researchers said that the increase in autoimmune diseases may be due to the cancers and the chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
- Certain forms of cancer went into remission that then had other forms of cancer form later in life. There new cancers were often treatment resistant due to compromising of the immune system of the patient caused by the childhood treatments.
The National Cancer Institute published an article “What should survivors of childhood cancer consider after they complete treatment.” The first recommendation is for increased health screening and early treatment of diseases forchildhood cancer survivors for the rest of their lives.
The Children’s Oncology Group has provided version 4.0 of a manual titled “Long-Term Follow-up Guidelines for Survivors of Childhood, Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer”. This is a 200 page survival manual that includes monitoring and treatments for cancers that occur before adulthood. This version of the manual was published in October, 2013.
The approach going forward for future generations should focus on prevention of environmentally caused cancers and repair of genes for those with inherited causes of cancer. Cancer treatment cannot match cancer prevention. Cancer prevention requires elimination of toxic contaminates in the air, water and food supplies that damage our immune systems or directly cause cancers. Cancer prevention also requires a healthy diet, exercise, a healthy lifestyle with regard to sleep, alcohol and drug consumption, and attention to known existing genetic conditions.
Future cancer treatments will use gene level therapy and other treatments at the cellular levels to replace radiation, chemotherapy and surgery. These approaches will minimize the damage to the immune system of the cancer patient. Call, write or e-mail your congressional representative and senators to fund new research into alternative treatment methods for cancer, and to address environmental and agricultural issues that cause damage the immune system’s ability to prevent cancers. The increase in cancer rates proves that environmental causes need to be addressed. Unless we join together, our representatives will not respond to our interests.