11:51am

Thu September 20, 2012
Health and Welfare

Childhood Leukemia Later On

Great medical strides have been made in the treatment of childhood leukemia.  Follow up care is a critical part of the formula for a healthy success long term.  A half century ago, the survival rate for children with leukemia hovered around ten percent.  Today, that percentage is more like 90 percent.  Despite the success, University of Kentucky Chief in the Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Lars Wagner says there can be a cost to these kids…later in life

“These kids are pretty young when they’re treated and are potentially more at risk for the development of either growth problems later on or problems with organ function like heart function because of effects of some of the medicine that they’ve been treated with,” said Wagner.

Wagner says it’s important to remain watchful for potential health problems.  So, he says they’ll need to follow these children once a year for at least ten years.   Still, as they age, Wagner says this form of leukemia rarely resurfaces.

“The chance of recurrence of the original leukemia fortunately continues to go down and recurrence more than five years after the diagnosis occasionally happens, but it is pretty rare,” added Wagner.

A fundraiser and walk Saturday evening at Lexington’s Whitaker Bank ball field benefits the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.