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Steady Improvements Seen for Young Blood Cancer Patients

Survival has significantly increased, research shows

THURSDAY, Aug. 27 (HealthDay News) -- American teens and young adults newly diagnosed with blood-related cancers now live longer than they did in the 1980s, new research has found.

Researchers analyzed data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) database, a population-based cancer registry in the United States. They compared data from 1981-1985 with data from 2001-2005 and found significant improvements in survival for patients with five blood-related cancers. Ten-year survival rates increased from 80.4 percent to 93.4 percent for Hodgkin's lymphoma, from 55.6 percent to 76.2 percent for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, from 30.5 percent to 52.1 percent for acute lymphoblastic leukemia, from 15.2 percent to 45.1 percent for acute myeloblastic leukemia, and from 0 percent to 74.5 percent for chronic myelocytic leukemia.

Further analysis showed that survival improved steadily over the past two decades for the lymphomas and chronic myelocytic leukemia, but has remained stable through the late 1990s and early 21st century for the acute leukemias.

The researchers also found that, with the exception of Hodgkin's lymphoma, survival in teens and young adults still lags behind survival in children. This remains a major challenge, the study authors noted.

The study appears online this week and in the Nov. 1 print issue of the journal Cancer.

"More research into how to treat these diseases and how to make sure that all patients have access to the best treatment is needed," study author Dr. Dianne Pulte, of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, said in a news release from the journal's publisher.

More information

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has more about blood cancers.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Cancer, news release, Aug. 24, 2009

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