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Organizers of cancer clinical trials are neglecting teenagers and young adults
Date:6/9/2008

London, UK: Teenagers and young adults with cancer are being failed by medical researchers who are not designing clinical trials with the 13-24 age group in mind and who are not recruiting sufficient numbers of young people to those trials that do exist, according to new figures announced today (Monday).

Dr Lorna Fern, from University College Hospital, London, told Teenage Cancer Trust's Fifth International Conference on Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Medicine that young people aged between 15 and 24 were particularly neglected, with an average of just 16.6% joining clinical trials between April 2005 and March 2008, compared to 44.1% of 5-14 year-olds who joined trials over the same period.

"Improvements in cancer treatments and outcomes for the older age group will continue to stagnate until this situation changes and more teenagers and young adults (TYAs) are recruited into clinical trials," said Dr Fern, who is research and development co-ordinator for the National Cancer Research Institute's Teenagers and Young Adult Clinical Studies Development Group.

"Our figures show there was considerable variation in the proportion of newly diagnosed patients entering trials between cancer types and between years. Some cancers had particularly poor accrual rates: in England, up until 2006/07, no young people over 16 years had been recruited to cancer treatment trials for brain tumours despite four trials being open during the study period, However, the new data for 2007/08 show that two patients have been entered in the past year, perhaps as a consequence of highlighting this issue. Brain tumours are one of the commonest causes of cancer from which young people die and as reported earlier in the conference, the incidence of some types is rising."

Dr Fern analysed 23 trials of 4,429 patients aged 0-59 years recruited between April 2005 and March 2008 in England, Scotland and Wales. Accrual rates fell considerably for patients aged 20
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Contact: Emma Mason
wordmason@mac.com
44-077-112-96986
Teenage Cancer Trust
Source:Eurekalert

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