Latest studies have shown that children born to people who underwent chemotherapy treatment in their childhood are not at a higher risk of being born with defects when compared to children of people who did not under such treatments. The results of this study come as a reassurance for all those who have worried about having children with birth defects due to their childhood therapies against cancer. People can plan their families safely without risk of bearing children with problems.
The study has been conducted by researchers from the Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. The lead author of the study is Dr. Lisa Signorello, who is an assistant professor at the institute. She is also associated with the International Epidemiology Institute in Rockville as a senior epidemiologist.
According to Dr. Lisa, people who underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatment in their childhood for organs involved in reproduction face reproductive problems. There is always a fear about how the children will turn out to be, with a large number of people expecting children with defects. The lead author said that there are unlikely to be any genetic problems in children owing to radiation. The risk does not increase.
Dr. Lisa also said that people who are diagnosed with cancer in their childhood have to follow rigorous therapies in order to suppress recurrence. This can seriously affect their ability to have healthy children. Women who received radiation to the pelvic region run the risk of miscarriages and premature births. Infertility is another serious problem faced by childhood cancer survivors. Although chemotherapy drugs can affect healthy cells in addition to cancer affected ones, there is no proof as to their affect on modifying the genetic makeup in the body. This reduces the risk of having children with birth defects that are caused due to genetic factors.
The present study considered close to 20,000 childhood cancer survivors, who were diagnosed with the disease from 1970 to 1986. Questionnaires were given to these people to collect data about their children. The medical treatments that the survivors of cancer went through were also evaluated for use of chemo and radiation treatments. The results of the study showed that minor defects were present in 2.7% of children born to the women cancer survivors. In male cancer survivors who underwent chemo and radiation, it was found that 1.9% of children had birth defects. When compared to cancer survivors who had not undergone these treatments, the increase in child defects was not high.