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Long-term cancer risk in leukaemia survivors

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Leukaemia survivors have a greater risk of secondary cancers developing over 30 years compared to the general population, according to study findings.

Leukaemia survivors have a greater risk of secondary cancers developing over 30 years compared to the general population, according to study findings.

Researchers said US survival rates for children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia currently exceeded 80%.

They estimated long-term cancer incidence in 2,169 children and adolescents treated for the disease between 1962 and 1998 at St Jude Children's Research Hospital in Tennessee.

The cumulative incidence of secondary neoplasms in all patients as the first event after complete remission was 4.2% at 15 years, 5.4% at 20 years and 10.8% at 30 years.

Lead author Nobuko Hijiya said: 'Although the majority of these late-occurring secondary neoplasms are low-grade tumors such as meningioma and basal cell carcinoma, the health care issues they raise may be critical.

He said the findings underscored the need for continued careful follow-up.

Journal of the American Medical Association (2007) 297:1207-15

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