Sara Faithfull, Diana Greenfield

Cancer survivor late-effects, chronic health problems after cancer treatment: what’s the evidence from population and registry data and where are the gaps?

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Oncology (nursing)
  • Oncology
  • General Medicine

Purpose of review Improvements in cancer treatment have led to more people living with and beyond a cancer diagnosis but survivors may have increased health problems as they age. The purpose of this review is to critically evaluate population data exploring incidence of late effects for cancer survivors. Recent findings 18 studies were identified between 2013 and 2023 that explored the impact on survivors’ physical and emotional health. Patients who had been treated at least 2 years previously for cancer had significant cardiovascular risk factors compared with age-matched controls. Women with breast cancer were more likely to have cardiovascular disease, including hypertension, arrythmias and congestive heart failure. This was associated with anthracyclines and/or trastuzumab as part of systemic anti-cancer therapy. Survivors of colorectal cancer were three times more likely to have acute kidney injury than age-matched controls. Stress and mood disorders were higher in survivors of testicular cancer and prostate cancer. Summary Population studies are important to identify the ‘real world’ consequences of cancer and its treatment beyond clinical trials. Knowledge is critical for managing an ageing cancer population. Data to personalise cancer survivorship care, not only helps determine potential health risks, but can improve secondary prevention, emotional health, recovery, and long-term outcomes.

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