Survival in Teenagers and Young Adults with Cancer in the UK

There is evidence that outcomes in TYA cancer patients, as measured by survival rates, are sometimes not as good as those for children. Poorer survival for males than females have also been reported for certain types of cancer. In the light of this evidence, we decided to undertake a detailed study of survival rates in TYA with cancer in the UK, comparing these with outcomes in children and in adults diagnosed between 25 and 49 years of age. Outcomes are also compared by gender.

This report has been written by the North West Cancer Intelligence Service (NWCIS) and the TYA National Intelligence Advisory Group, which is an informal group of interested clinicians and epidemiologists who support NWCIS in their TYA work.

It has been produced under the auspices of the National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN) and the Childhood and TYA Clinical Reference Group.

There is increasing recognition that teenagers and young adults (TYA) are a distinct group as regards cancer, differing from children, and middle‐aged and older adults in many important aspects including response to treatment, health behaviour and wider needs. We defined TYA as those who are diagnosed with cancer from their 15th to 25th birthday. Choice of age range to report is influenced by several factors. We chose this age range to reflect commissioning arrangements for clinical services in England and to span delivery of care between services for children and those for adults.

Approximately 2,000 individuals aged between 15‐24 years are diagnosed with cancer each year in the UK. About 300 TYA patients die from cancer each year. The relative frequency of different cancers in TYA is markedly different from that in middle‐aged and older adults. It more closely resembles the distribution of cancers seen in childhood, though there are many important differences.

The Improving Outcome Guidance (IOG) for Children and Young People with cancer (2005) recommends that patients aged 15‐18 are managed at a Principal Treatment Centre (PTC) for TYA cancers and that those aged 19‐24 are given the choice of being managed at a PTC. The NCIN has emphasised the importance of TYA cancer by making it a lead registry role; this is undertaken by NWCIS.

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