People who survive cancer during childhood and adolescence have a higher chance of developing second cancers later in life than their peers who did not have cancer. Dr Eva Steliarova-Foucher is using vast amounts of data from across Europe to better understand the link between first and second cancers in this population. This work could help prevent childhood cancer survivors from developing new cancers.
Cancer risk in childhood cancer survivors (CRICCS): understanding the causes to target prevention
Dr Eva Steliarova-Foucher
International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)
2 September 2020
Thanks to research, more than 80% of people diagnosed with cancer before the age of 20 will survive five years or more. However these children and teenagers are likely to develop health problems later in life. In particular, they have a chance of developing a second cancer. Sadly, these second cancers are a leading cause of death among this group. We need to find ways to stop young cancer survivors from developing second cancers.
To help do this, Dr Eva Steliarova-Foucher and her team will analyse information about cancer which is routinely collected from across Europe. From this information, the team will be able to estimate, for the first time, the number of childhood cancer survivors living in 40 European countries.
Next, Dr Steliarova-Foucher will use this and other data to look at what factors might increase someone’s chances of developing a second cancer. For example, she will investigate how the person’s sex or age, or the type of cancer they originally developed changes the risk of developing another cancer. From this, she’ll be able to estimate, for any childhood cancer survivor across Europe, what the chances are of them developing a second cancer of similar or different type.
Using data collected from across the world, Dr Steliarova-Foucher will also lead the study of impact of certain cancer treatments, or underlying health conditions on someone’s chances of developing a second cancer.
Dr Steliarova-Foucher’s research will provide crucial information about the health risks faced by people who survived cancer in childhood or adolescence. This will help countries to plan health care for childhood cancer survivors more effectively, and tailor follow-up appointments and cancer screening for each patient. It could also reveal new links between the cancer treatments children receive and the risks to their future health. Ultimately, Dr Steliarova-Foucher’s work will help children and young people who have already survived cancer by preventing them from developing cancer again.
The project is led by Eva Steliarova-Foucher, an epidemiologist from International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), who has coordinated other international studies on childhood cancer. In this project Eva will collaborate with Charles Stiller from Public Health England, Kathy Pritchard Jones from University College London and Lars Hjorth from Lund University.
Charles Stiller is an epidemiologist and has played a vital role in the production and use of childhood cancer data in the UK, contributing to international studies. Charles is also a member of the British Childhood Cancer Survivor Study steering group.
Kathy Pritchard-Jones is a paediatric oncologist with strong collaborations with cancer registries and epidemiologists in Australia, Canada, Japan and Europe that focus on outcomes research through enriched clinical data sets.
Lars Hjorth is a paediatric oncologist and haematologist. He is a board member of PanCare, a European networks specialising in late effects of childhood cancer and has coordinated a European project looking at delivering care to survivors of childhood and adolescent cancer.