Child Cancer Survivors Risk Heart Trouble Years Later

Weakening starts to show in young adults
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jul 28, 2009 8:10 AM CDT
Cancer treatments in children can pose a risk years later.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Kids who’ve conquered cancer can end up battling the effects of treatment years later as young adults, the Wall Street Journal reports. Some 10% of kids treated with drugs called anthracyclines, powerful against leukemia and other cancers, later suffer from progressive  weakening of the heart that can lead to congestive heart failure. “Many survivors don’t have a clue” about what treatments can do in the long run, says an oncologist.

Doctors say those who received anthracycline treatments or radiation as kids should get their hearts checked regularly. Some exhibit symptoms like shortness of breath or exhaustion, but in other cases, the first sign of trouble could be arrythmia causing sudden death. In women, cardiac trouble may first appear during pregnancy.