Largely because of exposure to radiation therapy, people who have survived cancer as children may have an increased risk of developing hormonal disorders that can lead to thyroid disease, testicular dysfunction, and diabetes, according to later experts. To warn healthcare providers about these risks, the Endocrine Society, an international medical organization, issued a "Clinical Practice Guideline" this week that was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (JCEM).
"Childhood cancer survivors have a high risk of developing endocrine disorders," said Charles Sklar of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, who chaired the editorial committee that developed the guide.
The endocrine system has eight major glands that produce hormones that help control many important body functions such as regulating blood sugar.
Childhood cancer is relatively rare and due to improvements in treatment and patient care, current survival rates exceed 80%.
However, these survivors are also at higher risk of developing sleep problems and sleepiness during the day as adults and hypertension, even decades after the cancer treatment ends.
Endocrine Orders are especially frequent in this population, often as a result of their previous treatments, particularly exposure to radiation therapy.
Exposure to key endocrine organs such as hypothalamus, pituitary, thyroid and gonads puts cancer survivors at the greatest risk of developing an endocrine abnormality over time.
Recent data show that almost 50 percent of these survivors will develop an endocrine disorder during their lifetime.
This disease can develop decades after cancer treatment, which underscores the importance of surveillance.
The guide provides recommendations on how to diagnose and control certain endocrine and growth disorders commonly found in childhood cancer survivors.
Recommends long-term screening of childhood cancer survivors for growth disorders, pituitary hormone deficiencies, and early puberty.
"Our new guide addresses the increasing risk of endocrine dysfunction among childhood survivors of childhood cancer, and underscores the importance of lifelong screening of these survivors for earlier detection and optimal patient care," Sklar said.
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Published: July 1, 2018 1:25 p. | Updated: July 1, 2018 1:26 pm