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Age, Ethnicity Tied to Less Follow-Up Care in Childhood Cancer Survivors

Authors say improving long-term follow-up is needed to better manage survivors’ health in adulthood

MONDAY, Aug. 16, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Age and ethnic background are associated with inadequate follow-up care among childhood cancer survivors, according to a study published online July 17 in JNCI Cancer Spectrum.

Joel Milam, Ph.D., from the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California Los Angeles, and colleagues surveyed childhood cancer survivors to assess demographic, clinical, health care engagement, and psychosocial risk and protective factors of recent (prior two years) cancer-related follow-up care. The analysis included 1,106 participants with a mean age of 26.2 years (mean 14.5 years since diagnosis).

The researchers found that 57 percent reported a recent cancer-related visit, with lower rates reported among older survivors. Greater odds of recent follow-up care were significantly associated with having insurance, more late effects, receipt of a written treatment summary, discussed long-term care needs with treating physician, knowledge of the need for long-term care, a regular source of care, and higher health care self-efficacy. Lower odds of recent care were associated with older age, Hispanic or other ethnicity (versus non-Hispanic White), and years since diagnosis.

“Long-term follow up care is essential for managing the health of young cancer survivors and, with growing numbers of cancer survivors, greater efforts are needed to increase health care engagement as survivors age, and to minimize ethnic disparities in access,” Milam said in a statement. “We recommend stronger tactics for reaching survivors including patient and provider education, written treatment summaries and standardized plans for transitioning survivors from the pediatric to adult care settings.”

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