Child cancer survivors not served enough

April 13, 2012 at 8:24 PM
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GAINESVILLE, Fla., April 13 (UPI) -- Childhood cancer survivors are living longer and there is a need for better ways to evaluate their health-related quality of life, U.S. researchers said.

Chandylen Nightingale, Barbara Curbow, Elizabeth Shenkman and I-Chan Huang of the University of Florida, Gainesville, and colleagues at the University of South Florida, University of Michigan and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, said since the 1970s, the five-year survival rate of U.S. childhood cancer increased from fewer than 50 percent to nearly 80 percent.

"This significant increase in survival creates a resulting large increase in the number of adolescent and young adult-aged cancer survivors, the majority of whom will experience 'late effects' -- side effects of the disease or treatment that may occur several years later," the researchers wrote in the study. "Late effects can have detrimental effects on health-related quality of life."

The article published online at the Journal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology said based on an extensive review of published studies, the team of authors concluded that traditional tools created to assess health-related quality of life in adult-onset cancer are not sufficient for use in young adult survivors.

A broader range of measurement is needed to evaluate this population, the researchers concluded.

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