Survivors of childhood brain tumours have more body fat, increasing their risk of stroke, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and early death, research has shown.
The study showed that although survivors of childhood brain tumours — the second most common type of cancers in children — have a similar Body Mass Index (BMI) to healthy children with no cancer, they have more fat tissue overall, especially around the abdomen.
“The findings suggest that one of the most important risk factors for heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, which is excess total and central fat in the body, is present relatively early in survivors of childhood brain tumours,” said M. Constantine Samaan, an associate professor at McMaster University, Canada.
“This may programme their future risk of these diseases and impact their outcomes,” Samaan added.
Over the past few years, advances in cancer therapy have resulted in an increasing number of children who survive their diagnosis of brain tumours.
However, this improved survival is offset by their high risk of several comorbid conditions and early death, said the study, published in the journal Scientific Reports.
“The study indicates that these children need further monitoring for the factors that increase their risk of cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes.
“Targeted therapies and prevention strategies are needed to deal with the early risk factors to improve survival and the quality of life of survivors,” Samaan added.—IANS