Joseph Carver, MD, discusses new disease risks for childhood cancer survivors

July 28, 2009

Wall Street Journal

Joseph Carver, MD, chief of staff of the Abramson Cancer Center, is quoted in a Wall Street Journal article about health issues faced by the growing number of adult survivors of childhood cancers. According to the National Cancer Institute, some 10,400 U.S. children under the age of 15 are diagnosed with cancer each year. About 80% of them survive beyond five years and are considered cured. Twenty years ago, by contrast, about 58% of children survived cancer. The lifesaving treatments the children receive, though, can have significant effects on their heart health later in life. Often, signs of trouble are subtle. "Maybe they used to be able to jog four miles," Carver says. "But now they can only do two and they chalk it up to gettin golder or they're just tired." More research is needed, he says, to determine optimal schedule of preventive checkups for these survivors, and whether giving medicine before symptoms arise would prevent or delay harm to the heart. Educating primary care and family practice physicians about the special health issues faced by pediatric cancer survivors will also be key to providing the best care, he says... Read More