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Pediatric or adult oncologists: Does is make a difference in survival for young adults with cancer?

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When younger adolescents and young adults have cancer they may be treated by an adult or pediatric oncologist.

This study used data from a cohort of 9993 younger adolescents/young adults who were diagnosed with cancer when they were between the ages of 15-24 years to determine care patterns.

Overall, 87.3% of patients were treated by adult oncologists. When accounting for patients between the age of 15-19 years, the majority (72.7%) were treated by adult providers.

Patients with acute leukemia, sarcoma, and central nervous system cancers more often saw pediatric oncologists, whereas patients with germ cell tumors and other cancers were more often treated by adult oncologists.

There was no survival difference by provider for most types of cancers. Higher survival of central nervous system cancers and rhabdomyosarcoma was associated with pediatric providers, whereas higher survival of Hodgkin lymphoma was associated with adult providers.

The authors concluded that “Current patterns of care for this population support increased collaboration between medical and pediatric oncology, including joint clinical trials.”

Collins CL, Peng J, Singh S, et al. Patterns of Cancer Care and Association with Survival among Younger Adolescents and Young Adults: A Population-based Retrospective Cohort Study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2021; cebp.0530.2021. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-21-0530. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34479948.