Children who beat leukemia may face lifelong problems caused by the radiation that saved their lives, while children who survive brain cancer have higher rates of mental illness no matter what treatment they receive, according to separate studies released on Wednesday.
Overall, children who do not receive radiation treatment for the most common childhood cancer, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or all, and who go ten years or more without a recurrence have a normal life and life expectancy, researchers concluded in a New England Journal of Medicine study.
The death rate for children treated with radiation was higher than the general U.S. population. The team found that the jobless rate for men who had undergone radiation as children was nearly three times higher than expected, while the jobless rate was almost seven times higher among women.
Radiation therapy can cause height and body build problems, and create mental problems that affect social and emotional development, said the team.