Lack of clinical trials may hurt teen cancer survival rate

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The overall survival rate from cancer now is lower in older adolescents and young adults with cancer than in younger children, in part because of a lack of access to clinical trials nationally for the older age group, according to a study by pediatric oncologists at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

Nationally, cure rates in children younger than 15 with cancer have improved dramatically over the past 30 years, increasing from 60 percent to approximately 85 percent at five years from the time of diagnosis, according to a news release from the hospital.

In contrast, similar improvements in survival rates have not been seen in adolescents and young adults ages 15-22, with cure rates remaining steady at approximately 70 percent throughout the same time period.

"This can be attributed to the fact that adolescents and young adults don't have the same access to cutting-edge cancer treatments provided though clinical trials," according to the news release.

The study was led by Dr. Peter Shaw a pediatric hematologist/oncologist at Children's Hospital.

The study is published in the December issue of the Journal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology.



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