Childhood brain cancer survivors at higher heart disease risk

Childhood brain cancer survivors at higher heart disease risk

Survivors of childhood brain tumours are at an increased risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and early death because of higher overall fat tissue, a new study has warned.

Researchers, including those from McMaster University in Canada, found that survivors of childhood brain tumours have a similar Body Mass Index (BMI) to healthy children with no cancer but have more fat tissue overall, and especially around the abdomen.

"These 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 Constantine Samaan, an associate professor at McMaster University.

"This indicates that these children need further monitoring for the factors that increase their risk of cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes, and that 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.

Brain tumours are the most common cause of cancer-related deaths in children, and are the second most common type of cancers in children, researchers said.

Over the past few years, advances in cancer therapy have resulted in an increasing number of children who survive their diagnosis of brain tumours. The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports.

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