Adolescents, young adults less likely to receive specialized cancer center care

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Pennsylvania adolescents and young adults are less likely to receive cancer treatment at a specialized treatment center than pediatric patients, according to a team of Penn State and Penn State Cancer Institute researchers.

Specialized centers provide access to clinical trials, psychological and social support services and other medical approaches. These are all critical to the comprehensive care of adolescents and young adults with cancer.

Researchers looked at data from the Pennsylvania Cancer Registry from 2010 to 2015 and identified cancer patients from age 0 to 39. Patients under 15 were used as a control group to make comparisons. Overall, researchers identified 15,002 patients, of which 8,857 attended a specialized care facility. Researchers defined a specialized facility as a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center or Children’s Oncology Group facility operating clinical trials. The odds of attending a specialized center were substantially lower for adolescents and young adults than for younger pediatric patients. 

Penn State Cancer Institute and National Center for Advancing Translational Science of the National Institutes of Health through Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute funded this research.

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