(HealthDay News) — Some survivors of childhood cancers that affect vision may face increased risk for long-term health and economic issues, two new studies suggest. The studies, published online Jan. 11 in Cancer, provide new insight that could help improve patient care and follow-up.
One study included 470 adult survivors of retinoblastoma who were followed for an average of 42 years. Compared to a control group of adults who never had the cancer, retinoblastoma survivors were more likely to have various types of health issues, including second cancers. This increased risk was highest among those who had retinoblastoma in both eyes. But when the researchers excluded vision issues and new cancers, survivors who had retinoblastoma in one eye were not at higher risk for chronic health conditions than the control group.
The other study included 1,233 adult survivors of childhood brain tumors. Of those patients, 22.5 percent suffered vision loss. There was no link detected between vision loss and cognitive or emotional outcomes, but survivors who were blind in both eyes were at increased risk of being unemployed, unmarried, and living with a caregiver.
“Adult survivors of childhood astroglial tumors with bilateral blindness were more likely to live unmarried and dependently and to be unemployed,” the authors write. “Survivors with visual impairment but some remaining vision did not differ significantly with respect to psychological function and socioeconomic status from those without visual impairment.”