Childhood Cancer Survivors have their own unique set of issues that often go unaddressed by health care professionals once treatment has ended and the child enters adulthood. Although the last 20 years have seen growth in survivorship research, this research is rarely filtered down to the people who need it most – the survivors and their families. Dr. Gregory Aune, Pediatric Oncologist, researcher, childhood cancer survivor and advocate, has taken on the position of CKN Editor, Knowledge Translation – Childhood Cancer Survivorship. His goal is simple: to help empower childhood cancer survivors to start a dialogue with their doctors by publishing short, easy-to-read research study summaries, like this one.
THE HEADLINE: Hodgkin Lymphoma Survivors at High Risk of Second Cancers
THE RESEARCH: The Journal of Clinical Oncology: Risk of Second Cancer in Hodgkin Lymphoma Survivors and Influence of Family History. Researchers in the European countries of United Kingdom, Germany, and Sweden collaborated to study rates of secondary cancers in 9,522 Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) survivors identified in the Swedish Family-Cancer Project Database. The researchers calculated the cumulative incidence of secondary lung, breast, colorectal, and all second cancers in HL survivors with and without a family history of cancer in those specific organ sites.
KEY FINDINGS: In these HL survivors, there was a greater than 2-fold increase in second cancers. 13.8% of women diagnosed with HL at age less than 35 years had developed breast cancer by 30 years post-completion of HL therapy. For those survivors that had a family history of cancer, the risk of a secondary cancer was an additional 1.3-fold higher. In the case of secondary lung cancers, the interaction between HL treatment and family history was more than additive.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR CHILDHOOD CANCER SURVIVORS: There have been numerous studies documenting excess second cancer risk in long-term survivors of childhood cancer. This study highlights the high risk for HL survivors, particularly breast cancers in women treated for HL at a young age. Those HL survivors with a family history of common adult cancers should be aware of their even higher risk. It is plausible that a similar interaction between family history and childhood cancer therapy exists for all childhood cancer survivors. Patients should develop lifestyle habits that reduce cancer risk.
Medical Disclaimer: The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images and information, contained on or available through this web site is for general information purposes only. If you feel the research summarized applies to you or someone you know, talk to your doctor about your concerns.
Videos with Dr. Aune
Presentation on YouTube (Jan 2015): Eliminating Long-term Health Effects in Cancer Survivors – Gregory Aune, MD, PhD
Interview for the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (June 2015): Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Survivor Dr. Greg Aune Discusses Issues in Long-Term Survivorship Care
Interview with the Washington Post Live Summit (Dec 2016): How cancer lives on in young adults after treatment ends
Dr. Gregory J. Aune is the Stephanie Edlund Distinguished Professor of Pediatric Cancer Research and a St. Baldrick’s Foundation Scholar. His experience in pediatric cancer spans over 27 years and encompasses his own patient experiences, research in experimental therapeutics, clinical care of pediatric oncology patients, and childhood cancer advocacy. His interest in pediatric oncology began at age 16, when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. While fortunate to survive, the experiences he encountered as a patient initiated a path towards a research and clinical career aimed at developing less toxic chemotherapy regimens. His experience as a long-term survivor included open-heart surgery at age 35 to replace his aortic valve and bypass three blocked coronary arteries that were damaged by his teenage cancer therapies. This life-changing event initiated his research interest in cardiac disease. His training to become a successful physician scientist and pediatric oncologist has included time spent at some of the most well-respected oncology institutions in the United States including, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, the National Cancer Institute, and Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Dr. Aune is a national leader in childhood cancer advocacy efforts. In San Antonio, he has been a leader in local fundraising and awareness efforts. Since 2010, he has spearheaded efforts by the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and For the Kids Dance Marathon at the University of Texas San Antonio that have raised over $830,000 for childhood cancer patients and research efforts. In September 2014, his appointment to the National Cancer Institute Council of Research Advocates (NCRA) was announced by NCI Director Dr. Harold Varmus at a White House briefing on childhood cancer.
In addition, Dr. Aune is a policy advisor for the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, serves on the Board of Directors of the American Childhood Cancer Organization, is a member of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation National Advocacy Committee, and serves on the scientific advisory board for the Canines-N-Kids foundation.
In May 2015, Dr. Aune addressed the 68th World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland and called on the World Health Organization to make childhood cancer a top global health priority.