SURVIVORS of childhood cancers should not smoke at any time in their lives due to their increased risk of developing second cancers, Nessa Childers MEP has told Europe’s first conference on childhood cancer survivorship, which was held in Dublin.
A recent study has shown that one in five childhood and adolescent cancer survivors currently smokes.
Ms Childers, a member of the EU’s Committee on Public Health, was addressing the first Conference on Survivorship after Cancer during Childhood and Adolescence on Saturday November 26 at the Croke Park Conference Centre. Download Speech (PDF 209 kb)
This is the first European conference for survivors of childhood and adolescent cancers and their families.
Click Here to view the conference programme and the speakers' presentations.
“Although 80% of survivors will go on to lead fulfilling lives, they will be at increased risk of second cancers, heart disease and other health problems,” said Ms Childers.
“Given the long-acknowledged carcinogenic effects of tobacco, the message coming from health professionals, patient groups and legislators must be simple – ‘if you are a cancer survivor, do not smoke’.”
Dr Julianne Byrne, founder of Boyne Research Institute, Drogheda and organiser of the inaugural conference for young cancer survivors and their families, endorsed Ms Childers’ message.
“Children who have had cancer should be encouraged to not even think about smoking for the first time,” said Dr Byrne.
Dr Lars Hjorth of the University of Lund in Sweden told the conference that childhood cancers have become more curable, with five-year survival in Europe rising from 44% in the 1970s to 74% at present. In Ireland, nearly 80% of children diagnosed with cancer will live at least five years.
Dr Elvira van Dalen of the Emma Children’s Hospital in Amsterdam described the excess risk for heart disease at a young age that childhood cancer survivors face, and pointed out that smoking is an added and avoidable risk for survivors.
Although many children will be cured of their original cancer, some may experience long-term complications or late effects as a result of the treatments which can damage many organ systems, she said.
The conference was organised by the Boyne Research Institute in association with the PanCareSurFup consortium and the Irish Cancer Society.
PanCareSurFup is a five-year pan-European project funded by the EU’s 7th Framework Programme. It is investigating the late effects of treatment for cancer during childhood and adolescence, and will establish guidelines for follow-up, and will disseminate the results and provide training and workshops for stakeholders.
The Boyne Research Institute is a partner in PanCareSurFup. The consortium hopes to hold similar conferences in other European countries.
Speakers were drawn from the UK, Holland, Sweden, Italy and Germany, and included experts in epidemiology, cancer registries, paediatric oncology, and patient and parent advocate organisations, such as Barretstown, CanTeen and Hand-in-Hand.
Click here to view the Final Report on the Conference.
Click here to see photographs of the conference.
The purpose of the conference was to:
- Raise awareness in Ireland around issues of survivorship after cancer during childhood and adolescence.
Click here to view press coverage
- Inform survivors, their families, the health services and medical professionals about long term risks associated with cancer treatment.
Click here to view the speakers' presentations
- Help cancer survivors and their families to establish networks for mutual help and support.
Click here to view information on networking groups
- Influence public policy decisions about childhood cancer survivorship.
Nessa Childers Page
Like us on Facebook
Boyne Research Institute is a registered charity, CHY 10275