New study: Obesity after childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia in North America and Switzerland

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28.11.2023 – Together with researchers from the North American the Swiss Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (SCCSS) team led by Claudia Kuehni recently published a new study about obesity and its risk factors in childhood cancer survivors of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).

Cancer treatment can cause overweight and obesity. Sometimes even adults who had cancer as a child suffer from weight problems. Therefore, the Swiss Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (SCCSS) team in collaboration with its North American counterpart the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS) analyzed obesity in ALL survivors in both countries.

As expected, former ALL patients living in North America (59%) are more often overweight or obese than former Swiss patients (31%). Furthermore, we found that former ALL patients in both countries are slightly more overweight and obese than their siblings. Surprisingly, being overweight or obese was mainly driven by sociodemographic factors and not by previous cancer treatment. Treatments, such as radiation to the head or steroids had little effect on weight gain after ALL treatment.

This means, that we need more awareness and preventive programs against overweight and obesity. Programs should be made not only for former patients, but also for the general populations, as siblings were nearly equally affected by weight problems.