Over the past forty years we have undergone vast improvements with regards to cancer treatments. The amount of chemo we use has gone down dramatically, and the other forms of radiation that we use as well. However, we still have not been able to reduce the amount overall deterioration that the body undergoes as a result of experiencing cancer and its accompanying treatments.
The quality of care and comfort during patients’ treatment has certainly improved dramatically. But the tendency of patients to discover that their bodies have aged dramatically has not improved at all.
Patients still report that they experience symptoms and health problems normally associated with old age, long before they are supposed to. It used to be thought that this was on account of the radiation used in treatments, this study, reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine, disproves this line of thought conclusively.
The study, led by Kirsten Ness of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, examined nearly fifteen thousand cancer survivors, comparing them to their siblings. Approximately one in four of those surveyed reported health problems from when they were in their twenties and thirties, problems that should have waited until their eighties.
Apparently, it’s the cancer that causes the aging, not the treatments.
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