Doctor visits increase in adolescent and young adults with cancer

Study done with ARCC Investigator and Program Lead of Survivorship: Mary McBride

This study published in the Journal of Cancer Survivorship helps us understand the need for health care to specifically examine the needs of Adolescents and Young Adults (AYA) diagnosed with cancer. Cancer treatments among AYAs can effect development on many levels such as: physical, mental, and social. This study examined the number of visits to a primary physician and to non-cancer specialists within the first five years after diagnosis, to provide insight on how to improve care for these patients.

Investigators identified 774 AYAs from the BC Cancer Registry who were born between 1991-2001 (aged 15-24). Their results found that within the first year after diagnosis 96% of patients visited family physicians and non-cancer specialists. After five years, those numbers decreased to 84% of patients visiting their family physician and 49%  visiting to non-cancer specialists. In the first year after diagnosis, many patients specifically visited a non-cancer specialist (77%) or family physician (55%) for general age-specific health .

This study has concluded that in the first years following diagnosis of cancer in AYAs, both non-cancer specialist and family physician visits are common, and that both types of visits decline over time considerably faster than in younger children. This highlights a different pattern of physician visits for AYA’s with cancer, supporting calls for care that are tailored to their specific needs.

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