Overall, the rates of malignancy in the developmentally disabled population do not differ from the general population. 22 However, malignancies are often much more advanced when diagnosed. Difficulties in communicating early, less-specific symptoms, markedly decreased self-monitoring (e.g., monthly breast self-examination), and a relative absence of preventative care, all contribute to this problem. Some mental retardation syndromes have an increased risk of malignancy. Adults with Down syndrome have a 10-fold increased risk for leukemia. Individuals with tuberous sclerosis are prone to brain tumors, particularly subependymal giant cell astrocytomas (SEGAs), rhabdomyomas of the heart, and angiomyolipomas of the kidney. Giant cell astrocytomas often present with an increase in seizure frequency.
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