Follow-up care for young adult survivors of cancer: lessons from pediatrics
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Recent advances in treatment of childhood cancer have resulted in overall survival rates approaching 75%, but approximately two-thirds experience late-effects related to the disease or treatment. Consequently, recommendations for comprehensive follow-up have been made. As the number of survivors of adult cancers increase, similar concerns about how to provide follow-up and achieve optimal quality of life are being raised. In this paper we propose that management of cancer survivors diagnosed in young adulthood (18–45 years) could benefit from experience gained treating survivors of childhood cancer.
Materials and methods
We reviewed research relating to differences in survival rates and late-effects; current arrangements for follow-up; effectiveness; and problems in organization of follow-up separately for survivors of child and adult cancers.
A number of models of follow-up were identified. Rationale for follow-up included early identification and treatment of second cancer and late-effects, health promotion and screening. Increasing numbers of survivors and range of late-effects were identified as problems in organizing services. A possible solution is risk-stratified follow-up, currently being developed in pediatrics.
New models of follow-up are needed that take account of financial costs for health services and survivors’ concerns about their current and future health. Implications for continuing refinement of treatment protocols must be an integral part of the service.
Implications for cancer survivors
International standards are needed to ensure all survivors have access to expert follow-up care and can benefit from new information that might lead to earlier treatment of late-effects.
KeywordsFollow-up Pediatric Young adult Late-effects Cancer survivors
We would like to thank all members of the Late Effects Group, Sheffield for comments on an earlier version of this paper. Diana Greenfield and Kate Absolom are supported by the Weston Park Cancer Appeal. Diana Greenfield is also supported by the Laura Crane Trust.
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