|Child Cancer Survivors May Have Trouble Having Kids Later|
|Friday, 23 July 2010 00:00|
Although more children are surviving a cancer diagnosis, there may be unintended long-term effects from treatment on reproduction, a study published Thursday found.
Female survivors who had irradiation of the uterus and ovaries at a high dose when they were children had a significantly elevated risk of stillbirth or neonatal death during a subsequent pregnancy, according to Lisa Signorello of the International Epidemiology Institute in Rockville, Md., and colleagues.
The link appeared only in those who received radiation treatment before puberty, the researchers reported online in The Lancet.
The absolute risk of stillbirth or neonatal death was 3 percent overall.
If the radiation is indeed the underlying cause of the birth problems, the increased risk is "probably related to uterine damage," they wrote.
"Careful management is warranted for pregnant women treated with high doses of pelvic irradiation before they have reached puberty," they concluded.
There was no increased risk of an adverse outcome among the offspring of men who had had their testes irradiated after a childhood cancer diagnosis, "which is reassuring not only for male survivors of childhood cancer but also for men exposed to ionizing radiation in occupational or other settings," the researchers wrote.
Looking at the risk of stillbirth and neonatal death is a way of assessing the potential for the damage caused by radiation or chemotherapy to affect DNA across generations.