Tag Archives: serious

Mother killed herself after ‘serious failure’ by mental health unit

A mother who killed herself while suffering from postnatal depression died as a result of a “very serious failure” that allowed her to leave a mental health unit unchaperoned, a coroner has ruled.

Despite having made multiple attempts to kill herself, 32-year-old Polly Ross was allowed to leave the Westlands mental health unit in Hull at about 8.30am on 12 July 2015, telling nurses that she was going to buy cigarettes. She was hit by a train at 11.10am and died instantly.

Speaking at the end of a four-day hearing, coroner Prof Paul Marks said he could not rule that Humber NHS foundation trust had been guilty of clinical neglect, but said the decision to allow her to leave the unit “had a direct causal effect” on her death.

Her mother, Jo Hogg, who was previously employed by the trust as an occupational therapist, thanked the coroner for conducting a “frank and fearless examination” of the circumstances surrounding her daughter’s death.

She said the trust had failed her daughter when she had needed their help the most and that care for women with postnatal depression in the region was “appalling”. She said that mental health services were “not joined up in a way that pays close regard to the complex needs of patients”.

The court heard how Ross, who ran a translation business in Paris before moving back to east Yorkshire in August 2012, had suffered from the extreme form of morning sickness, hyperemesis gravidarum, during both her pregnancies in 2012 and 2014. The condition has received media attention after it was revealed that the Duchess of Cambridge suffered from it during her pregnancies.

The condition caused Ross – who was described as “staggeringly intelligent” – to be hospitalised and put on a drip, which was said to have compounded her mental health issues. The inquest was told that she developed “drug-induced psychosis” after taking cannabis to relieve her symptoms and that when she asked to be admitted to a specialist mother and baby unit in Leeds, she was turned down.

In February 2015, the linguist was sectioned after a breakdown and her children were taken from her care. Over the coming weeks and months she regularly expressed suicidal thoughts and attended A&E on multiple occasions having self harmed or taken an overdose.

In a statement read to the court, Ross’s aunt Emma May, who acted as her carer after she was first sectioned, said she was certain that the few times her niece had left her home since February “were times she attempted to take her own life”. She said: “I cannot understand how she was allowed to leave the unit to buy her own cigarettes the morning she died.”

Giving evidence to the inquest, Dr Robert Kehoe, a Bradford-based consultant psychiatrist, said that while the overall standard of Ross’s care had been good, there were two serious failures on the part of Humber NHS foundation trust.

“One: there was a failure to clarify and state a plan for what should occur in the situation of a patient requesting to leave the unit,” he said. “Two: the effective decision to end the period of 15-minute observations allowed her to leave the unit at around 8.40am that day.”

Ross’s observations had been increased from once an hour to once every 15 minutes on 10 July after a ligature was found in her room. She was not sectioned at the time of her death, but Kehoe said there was “no logic” in increasing her observations only to allow her to leave the unit unescorted.

In a statement, Humber NHS foundation trust said: “We would like to offer our sincerest condolences to Polly’s mother, aunt, other family members and friends for their tragic loss. The thoughts of everyone associated with the trust continue to be with them at this sad time.

“We would also like to offer an unreserved apology to Polly’s family and friends and acknowledge that there were omissions in her care prior to her death on 12 July 2015. The trust acknowledges Prof Marks’ conclusion regarding the circumstances surrounding Polly’s death and has fully implemented all of the recommended improvements highlighted by our investigations.

“The trust will continue to reflect and learn and seek to continually improve the services we provide to patients.”

In October 2015, Marks ruled that Humber NHS foundation trust was guilty of neglect in the case of Sally Mays, 22, who killed herself after being turned away for inpatient mental health care. The same year, a coroner in Bristol raised concerns about mental healthcare for new mothers after 30-year-old Charlotte Bevan jumped off a cliff clutching her baby girl following a “chain of failures” by medical staff.

In the UK the Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is on 13 11 14. Other international suicide helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.

Have you suffered from serious loneliness and come out the other side?

There’s no doubt loneliness is a serious problem – in 2014, Britain was named the loneliness capital of Europe, with a significant proportion of us having no one to rely on in a crisis, and suffering from a lack of friends and contacts in our local area. It’s an issue that affects people of all ages, races and classes, and can have serious consequences for both our mental and physical health.

The leader of Britain’s GPs warned in October that loneliness is as bad for long term health as long-term illness, and 2015 research by the University of Chicago found that loneliness is almost as great a cause of death as poverty.

This is often presented as a problem with no solution: essentially, a chronic condition. And yet, as many who have experienced loneliness or social isolation will know, it isn’t necessarily a lifelong state. Our friendship groups, and close personal contacts, the people we can rely on in a crisis, do change over the course of our lifetimes, depending on where we’re living, what work we’re doing, our age, and other circumstances.

Share your experiences

We’d like to speak to people who have suffered serious loneliness in the past, but have come out the other side, perhaps after taking active steps to end it. You might have felt profoundly alone even when surrounded by friends or with your partner – or you might have experienced a prolonged period of social isolation. Perhaps your solution involved moving closer to friends who had moved away, or maybe you got involved in a new group or activity? Were there services that helped, or was part of it about changing how you approached social situations?

Tell us your experiences in the encrypted form below, your responses will only be seen by the Guardian. We will feature some of your responses in our reporting, but will contact you before publishing.

If you’re having trouble using the form, click here.

Have you suffered from serious loneliness and come out the other side?

There’s no doubt loneliness is a serious problem – in 2014, Britain was named the loneliness capital of Europe, with a significant proportion of us having no one to rely on in a crisis, and suffering from a lack of friends and contacts in our local area. It’s an issue that affects people of all ages, races and classes, and can have serious consequences for both our mental and physical health.

The leader of Britain’s GPs warned in October that loneliness is as bad for long term health as long-term illness, and 2015 research by the University of Chicago found that loneliness is almost as great a cause of death as poverty.

This is often presented as a problem with no solution: essentially, a chronic condition. And yet, as many who have experienced loneliness or social isolation will know, it isn’t necessarily a lifelong state. Our friendship groups, and close personal contacts, the people we can rely on in a crisis, do change over the course of our lifetimes, depending on where we’re living, what work we’re doing, our age, and other circumstances.

Share your experiences

We’d like to speak to people who have suffered serious loneliness in the past, but have come out the other side, perhaps after taking active steps to end it. You might have felt profoundly alone even when surrounded by friends or with your partner – or you might have experienced a prolonged period of social isolation. Perhaps your solution involved moving closer to friends who had moved away, or maybe you got involved in a new group or activity? Were there services that helped, or was part of it about changing how you approached social situations?

Tell us your experiences in the encrypted form below, your responses will only be seen by the Guardian. We will feature some of your responses in our reporting, but will contact you before publishing.

If you’re having trouble using the form, click here.

Obese women more likely to have babies with serious birth defects, says study

Women who are obese when they conceive are more likely to have a baby with serious birth defects, a major study has found.

The research revealed a sliding scale of risk for health problems including congenital heart defects, anomalies of the digestive system and malformations of genital organs or limbs.

The study is the first to show that babies of women who are overweight, but not clinically obese, are also slightly more likely to have health problems in the first year of life.

The study, which used data from more than 1.2 million live births in Sweden between 2001 and 2014, provides some of the most compelling evidence so far of link between obesity in pregnancy and birth defects. While the additional risk was small for women who were just above the healthy weight range, the progressive increase in risk made the researchers more confident that the link was causal.

Martin Neovius, an epidemiologist at the Karolinska Institute and the study’s senior author, said: “In terms of risk, it is better to be normal weight than overweight and much better to be normal weight than obese.”

Writing in the British Medical Journal, the researchers urged women who are planning pregnancy to aim to get their weight within the healthy range before conception.

“Efforts should be made to encourage women of reproductive age to adopt a healthy lifestyle and to obtain a normal body weight before conception,” the authors wrote.

Neovius added that the sliding scale of risk suggests that even decreasing from severe obesity to milder obesity would have a benefit. “It’s very hard for someone of a BMI of 42 to become normal weight,” he said.

The study found that a total of 43,550 babies (3.5% of all births) had major congenital malformations. Compared with mothers in the healthy weight range (3.4% risk of defects), the risk was 3.5% for overweight mothers, 3.8 for obese mothers, and rose to 4.2% and 4.7% for higher categories of obesity.

The categories were based on body mass index (BMI), with a healthy weight defined as a BMI between 18.5 and 24, overweight being 25 to 29, and obese being 30 or over.

The researchers took into account a range of potential confounding factors, and their findings are strongly suggestive – although not absolute proof –of a causal link. Scientists are still trying to understand how maternal weight impacts the developing foetus.

Altered hormone levels, higher levels of inflammation and less efficient delivery of nutrients via the placenta could all play a role, the paper suggests. Poor blood sugar control was cited as another potential risk factor, although the link remained when those diagnosed with diabetes were excluded.

Another possible contributor is that overweight women have been shown previously to be less likely to take folic acid supplements, which are know to protect against certain birth defects. The latest study was not able to control for this possibility.

Neovius said that the risk of birth defects was just one of many of additional risk factors faced in pregnancy by women who are obese.

“Severe obesity confers excess risk for so many other negative outcomes for pregnancy: pre-eclampsia, diabetes, still-birth,” he said. “It’s really not a good place to be.”

He acknowledged though that losing weight, especially for those who are severely obese, poses a significant challenge and that few interventions have been shown to be consistently successful.

Globally, obesity is viewed as a growing health problem, with the number of women aged 18 years and older with a BMI greater than 35 having doubled from 50 million to 100 million between 2000 and 2010.

ends

Obese women more likely to have babies with serious birth defects, says study

Women who are obese when they conceive are more likely to have a baby with serious birth defects, a major study has found.

The research revealed a sliding scale of risk for health problems including congenital heart defects, anomalies of the digestive system and malformations of genital organs or limbs.

The study is the first to show that babies of women who are overweight, but not clinically obese, are also slightly more likely to have health problems in the first year of life.

The study, which used data from more than 1.2 million live births in Sweden between 2001 and 2014, provides some of the most compelling evidence so far of link between obesity in pregnancy and birth defects. While the additional risk was small for women who were just above the healthy weight range, the progressive increase in risk made the researchers more confident that the link was causal.

Martin Neovius, an epidemiologist at the Karolinska Institute and the study’s senior author, said: “In terms of risk, it is better to be normal weight than overweight and much better to be normal weight than obese.”

Writing in the British Medical Journal, the researchers urged women who are planning pregnancy to aim to get their weight within the healthy range before conception.

“Efforts should be made to encourage women of reproductive age to adopt a healthy lifestyle and to obtain a normal body weight before conception,” the authors wrote.

Neovius added that the sliding scale of risk suggests that even decreasing from severe obesity to milder obesity would have a benefit. “It’s very hard for someone of a BMI of 42 to become normal weight,” he said.

The study found that a total of 43,550 babies (3.5% of all births) had major congenital malformations. Compared with mothers in the healthy weight range (3.4% risk of defects), the risk was 3.5% for overweight mothers, 3.8 for obese mothers, and rose to 4.2% and 4.7% for higher categories of obesity.

The categories were based on body mass index (BMI), with a healthy weight defined as a BMI between 18.5 and 24, overweight being 25 to 29, and obese being 30 or over.

The researchers took into account a range of potential confounding factors, and their findings are strongly suggestive – although not absolute proof –of a causal link. Scientists are still trying to understand how maternal weight impacts the developing foetus.

Altered hormone levels, higher levels of inflammation and less efficient delivery of nutrients via the placenta could all play a role, the paper suggests. Poor blood sugar control was cited as another potential risk factor, although the link remained when those diagnosed with diabetes were excluded.

Another possible contributor is that overweight women have been shown previously to be less likely to take folic acid supplements, which are know to protect against certain birth defects. The latest study was not able to control for this possibility.

Neovius said that the risk of birth defects was just one of many of additional risk factors faced in pregnancy by women who are obese.

“Severe obesity confers excess risk for so many other negative outcomes for pregnancy: pre-eclampsia, diabetes, still-birth,” he said. “It’s really not a good place to be.”

He acknowledged though that losing weight, especially for those who are severely obese, poses a significant challenge and that few interventions have been shown to be consistently successful.

Globally, obesity is viewed as a growing health problem, with the number of women aged 18 years and older with a BMI greater than 35 having doubled from 50 million to 100 million between 2000 and 2010.

ends

Obese women more likely to have babies with serious birth defects, says study

Women who are obese when they conceive are more likely to have a baby with serious birth defects, a major study has found.

The research revealed a sliding scale of risk for health problems including congenital heart defects, anomalies of the digestive system and malformations of genital organs or limbs.

The study is the first to show that babies of women who are overweight, but not clinically obese, are also slightly more likely to have health problems in the first year of life.

The study, which used data from more than 1.2 million live births in Sweden between 2001 and 2014, provides some of the most compelling evidence so far of link between obesity in pregnancy and birth defects. While the additional risk was small for women who were just above the healthy weight range, the progressive increase in risk made the researchers more confident that the link was causal.

Martin Neovius, an epidemiologist at the Karolinska Institute and the study’s senior author, said: “In terms of risk, it is better to be normal weight than overweight and much better to be normal weight than obese.”

Writing in the British Medical Journal, the researchers urged women who are planning pregnancy to aim to get their weight within the healthy range before conception.

“Efforts should be made to encourage women of reproductive age to adopt a healthy lifestyle and to obtain a normal body weight before conception,” the authors wrote.

Neovius added that the sliding scale of risk suggests that even decreasing from severe obesity to milder obesity would have a benefit. “It’s very hard for someone of a BMI of 42 to become normal weight,” he said.

The study found that a total of 43,550 babies (3.5% of all births) had major congenital malformations. Compared with mothers in the healthy weight range (3.4% risk of defects), the risk was 3.5% for overweight mothers, 3.8 for obese mothers, and rose to 4.2% and 4.7% for higher categories of obesity.

The categories were based on body mass index (BMI), with a healthy weight defined as a BMI between 18.5 and 24, overweight being 25 to 29, and obese being 30 or over.

The researchers took into account a range of potential confounding factors, and their findings are strongly suggestive – although not absolute proof –of a causal link. Scientists are still trying to understand how maternal weight impacts the developing foetus.

Altered hormone levels, higher levels of inflammation and less efficient delivery of nutrients via the placenta could all play a role, the paper suggests. Poor blood sugar control was cited as another potential risk factor, although the link remained when those diagnosed with diabetes were excluded.

Another possible contributor is that overweight women have been shown previously to be less likely to take folic acid supplements, which are know to protect against certain birth defects. The latest study was not able to control for this possibility.

Neovius said that the risk of birth defects was just one of many of additional risk factors faced in pregnancy by women who are obese.

“Severe obesity confers excess risk for so many other negative outcomes for pregnancy: pre-eclampsia, diabetes, still-birth,” he said. “It’s really not a good place to be.”

He acknowledged though that losing weight, especially for those who are severely obese, poses a significant challenge and that few interventions have been shown to be consistently successful.

Globally, obesity is viewed as a growing health problem, with the number of women aged 18 years and older with a BMI greater than 35 having doubled from 50 million to 100 million between 2000 and 2010.

ends

Obese women more likely to have babies with serious birth defects, says study

Women who are obese when they conceive are more likely to have a baby with serious birth defects, a major study has found.

The research revealed a sliding scale of risk for health problems including congenital heart defects, anomalies of the digestive system and malformations of genital organs or limbs.

The study is the first to show that babies of women who are overweight, but not clinically obese, are also slightly more likely to have health problems in the first year of life.

The study, which used data from more than 1.2 million live births in Sweden between 2001 and 2014, provides some of the most compelling evidence so far of link between obesity in pregnancy and birth defects. While the additional risk was small for women who were just above the healthy weight range, the progressive increase in risk made the researchers more confident that the link was causal.

Martin Neovius, an epidemiologist at the Karolinska Institute and the study’s senior author, said: “In terms of risk, it is better to be normal weight than overweight and much better to be normal weight than obese.”

Writing in the British Medical Journal, the researchers urged women who are planning pregnancy to aim to get their weight within the healthy range before conception.

“Efforts should be made to encourage women of reproductive age to adopt a healthy lifestyle and to obtain a normal body weight before conception,” the authors wrote.

Neovius added that the sliding scale of risk suggests that even decreasing from severe obesity to milder obesity would have a benefit. “It’s very hard for someone of a BMI of 42 to become normal weight,” he said.

The study found that a total of 43,550 babies (3.5% of all births) had major congenital malformations. Compared with mothers in the healthy weight range (3.4% risk of defects), the risk was 3.5% for overweight mothers, 3.8 for obese mothers, and rose to 4.2% and 4.7% for higher categories of obesity.

The categories were based on body mass index (BMI), with a healthy weight defined as a BMI between 18.5 and 24, overweight being 25 to 29, and obese being 30 or over.

The researchers took into account a range of potential confounding factors, and their findings are strongly suggestive – although not absolute proof –of a causal link. Scientists are still trying to understand how maternal weight impacts the developing foetus.

Altered hormone levels, higher levels of inflammation and less efficient delivery of nutrients via the placenta could all play a role, the paper suggests. Poor blood sugar control was cited as another potential risk factor, although the link remained when those diagnosed with diabetes were excluded.

Another possible contributor is that overweight women have been shown previously to be less likely to take folic acid supplements, which are know to protect against certain birth defects. The latest study was not able to control for this possibility.

Neovius said that the risk of birth defects was just one of many of additional risk factors faced in pregnancy by women who are obese.

“Severe obesity confers excess risk for so many other negative outcomes for pregnancy: pre-eclampsia, diabetes, still-birth,” he said. “It’s really not a good place to be.”

He acknowledged though that losing weight, especially for those who are severely obese, poses a significant challenge and that few interventions have been shown to be consistently successful.

Globally, obesity is viewed as a growing health problem, with the number of women aged 18 years and older with a BMI greater than 35 having doubled from 50 million to 100 million between 2000 and 2010.

ends

Obese women more likely to have babies with serious birth defects, says study

Women who are obese when they conceive are more likely to have a baby with serious birth defects, a major study has found.

The research revealed a sliding scale of risk for health problems including congenital heart defects, anomalies of the digestive system and malformations of genital organs or limbs.

The study is the first to show that babies of women who are overweight, but not clinically obese, are also slightly more likely to have health problems in the first year of life.

The study, which used data from more than 1.2 million live births in Sweden between 2001 and 2014, provides some of the most compelling evidence so far of link between obesity in pregnancy and birth defects. While the additional risk was small for women who were just above the healthy weight range, the progressive increase in risk made the researchers more confident that the link was causal.

Martin Neovius, an epidemiologist at the Karolinska Institute and the study’s senior author, said: “In terms of risk, it is better to be normal weight than overweight and much better to be normal weight than obese.”

Writing in the British Medical Journal, the researchers urged women who are planning pregnancy to aim to get their weight within the healthy range before conception.

“Efforts should be made to encourage women of reproductive age to adopt a healthy lifestyle and to obtain a normal body weight before conception,” the authors wrote.

Neovius added that the sliding scale of risk suggests that even decreasing from severe obesity to milder obesity would have a benefit. “It’s very hard for someone of a BMI of 42 to become normal weight,” he said.

The study found that a total of 43,550 babies (3.5% of all births) had major congenital malformations. Compared with mothers in the healthy weight range (3.4% risk of defects), the risk was 3.5% for overweight mothers, 3.8 for obese mothers, and rose to 4.2% and 4.7% for higher categories of obesity.

The categories were based on body mass index (BMI), with a healthy weight defined as a BMI between 18.5 and 24, overweight being 25 to 29, and obese being 30 or over.

The researchers took into account a range of potential confounding factors, and their findings are strongly suggestive – although not absolute proof –of a causal link. Scientists are still trying to understand how maternal weight impacts the developing foetus.

Altered hormone levels, higher levels of inflammation and less efficient delivery of nutrients via the placenta could all play a role, the paper suggests. Poor blood sugar control was cited as another potential risk factor, although the link remained when those diagnosed with diabetes were excluded.

Another possible contributor is that overweight women have been shown previously to be less likely to take folic acid supplements, which are know to protect against certain birth defects. The latest study was not able to control for this possibility.

Neovius said that the risk of birth defects was just one of many of additional risk factors faced in pregnancy by women who are obese.

“Severe obesity confers excess risk for so many other negative outcomes for pregnancy: pre-eclampsia, diabetes, still-birth,” he said. “It’s really not a good place to be.”

He acknowledged though that losing weight, especially for those who are severely obese, poses a significant challenge and that few interventions have been shown to be consistently successful.

Globally, obesity is viewed as a growing health problem, with the number of women aged 18 years and older with a BMI greater than 35 having doubled from 50 million to 100 million between 2000 and 2010.

ends

Obese women more likely to have babies with serious birth defects, says study

Women who are obese when they conceive are more likely to have a baby with serious birth defects, a major study has found.

The research revealed a sliding scale of risk for health problems including congenital heart defects, anomalies of the digestive system and malformations of genital organs or limbs.

The study is the first to show that babies of women who are overweight, but not clinically obese, are also slightly more likely to have health problems in the first year of life.

The study, which used data from more than 1.2 million live births in Sweden between 2001 and 2014, provides some of the most compelling evidence so far of link between obesity in pregnancy and birth defects. While the additional risk was small for women who were just above the healthy weight range, the progressive increase in risk made the researchers more confident that the link was causal.

Martin Neovius, an epidemiologist at the Karolinska Institute and the study’s senior author, said: “In terms of risk, it is better to be normal weight than overweight and much better to be normal weight than obese.”

Writing in the British Medical Journal, the researchers urged women who are planning pregnancy to aim to get their weight within the healthy range before conception.

“Efforts should be made to encourage women of reproductive age to adopt a healthy lifestyle and to obtain a normal body weight before conception,” the authors wrote.

Neovius added that the sliding scale of risk suggests that even decreasing from severe obesity to milder obesity would have a benefit. “It’s very hard for someone of a BMI of 42 to become normal weight,” he said.

The study found that a total of 43,550 babies (3.5% of all births) had major congenital malformations. Compared with mothers in the healthy weight range (3.4% risk of defects), the risk was 3.5% for overweight mothers, 3.8 for obese mothers, and rose to 4.2% and 4.7% for higher categories of obesity.

The categories were based on body mass index (BMI), with a healthy weight defined as a BMI between 18.5 and 24, overweight being 25 to 29, and obese being 30 or over.

The researchers took into account a range of potential confounding factors, and their findings are strongly suggestive – although not absolute proof –of a causal link. Scientists are still trying to understand how maternal weight impacts the developing foetus.

Altered hormone levels, higher levels of inflammation and less efficient delivery of nutrients via the placenta could all play a role, the paper suggests. Poor blood sugar control was cited as another potential risk factor, although the link remained when those diagnosed with diabetes were excluded.

Another possible contributor is that overweight women have been shown previously to be less likely to take folic acid supplements, which are know to protect against certain birth defects. The latest study was not able to control for this possibility.

Neovius said that the risk of birth defects was just one of many of additional risk factors faced in pregnancy by women who are obese.

“Severe obesity confers excess risk for so many other negative outcomes for pregnancy: pre-eclampsia, diabetes, still-birth,” he said. “It’s really not a good place to be.”

He acknowledged though that losing weight, especially for those who are severely obese, poses a significant challenge and that few interventions have been shown to be consistently successful.

Globally, obesity is viewed as a growing health problem, with the number of women aged 18 years and older with a BMI greater than 35 having doubled from 50 million to 100 million between 2000 and 2010.

ends

Children who survive cancer face fewer serious long-term health issues – study

More children are surviving childhood cancer with fewer debilitating long-term side effects, a new study has found.

The study used data from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study, a US database supported by the National Cancer Institute, which collects information on long-term health outcomes of more than 35,000 childhood cancer survivors. It focused on children diagnosed with cancer between 1970 and 1999 who had survived for at least five years.

It found that in the 1970s, 12.7% of children who survived cancer had severe health complications. That number dropped to 10.1% in the 1980s, and 8.8% in the 1990s.

The lead author of the study, Todd M Gibson, an assistant member of Saint Jude Children’s Research Hospital, said: “From our findings, it is clear that survivors diagnosed and treated in more modern treatment eras are doing better. Not only are children being cured, but they also have lower risk for developing serious health problems due to cancer treatment later in life.”

The study adds to other published works which found childhood cancer patients are both surviving cancer at higher rates and living longer following remission.

The authors said that the study is the first to use such a large group to assess how rates of chronic diseases changed over the past three decades, as rates of survival increased. It was presented at the world’s largest gathering of cancer specialists, the American Society of Clinical Oncologists annual conference, in Chicago.

Childhood cancer differs markedly from adult cancer. About one-third of childhood cancers are leukemias, or cancers of the bone marrow and blood, and one-quarter of childhood cancers attack the central nervous system, such as the brain and spinal cord. Cancers typically associated with adults, such as breast, colon or lung cancer, are extremely rare in children, according to the World Health Organization.

The analysis focused on severe, disabling, life-threatening or fatal health problems arising within 15 years of childhood cancer diagnosis in more than 23,000 survivors. The median age of survivors was 28, and the median were 21 years out from diagnosis.

The most dramatic drops in long-term health complications found in the study were for Wilms’ tumor, a cancer of the kidneys in very young children, and Hodgkin lymphoma, a disease of the immune system. Over three decades, those cancers respectively saw a 43% and 25% drop in severe, long-term side effects.

“Perhaps no other area of oncology has seen such dramatic progress in treatment over the past decades as childhood cancer,” said Timothy D Gilligan, a medical oncologist at the Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute who was not involved in the study. “As a result of advances in treatment and care, children with cancer are not only living longer, they are benefiting from reductions in long-term side effects of cancer treatment. These results show how important it is to fund and conduct studies of cancer survivors.”