Why Teen And Young Adult Cancer Survivors Need Ongoing Preventative Care

According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 5,000 to 6,000 teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19 in the United States are diagnosed with cancer and nearly 10% of them die every year. Accidents, suicide, and homicide are the leading causes of death in this age group, but cancer is next in line.

U.S. News & World Report states that people who survived cancer in their teen or early adult years are more likely to develop and die from cancer in the future. Researchers at the American Cancer Society say these survivors need to be closely monitored. The findings come as a result of a study published on May 4 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Lead author and scientist at the cancer society, Hyuna Sung, said that studies have been conducted on children to determine the risk of cancer being an issue later in life, but when it comes to teenagers and young adults, the data is lacking. "These results strongly stress the need to expand research on and strengthen efforts for surveillance of subsequent cancers among childhood and AYA cancer survivors," he said. He added that more work needs to be done in terms of creating age-specific prevention strategies for cancer survivors.

The study's alarming statistics

According to the same study, one in seven survivors developed new cancer 35 years after their first diagnosis, and one in 16 died. The study was based on research consisting of over 170,000 cancer survivors who were diagnosed with one of 29 types of cancer. All of the participants were diagnosed when they were 15 to 29 years of age between 1975 and 2013. They were all five-year survivors.

The cancer survivors had a 25% increased risk of receiving a diagnosis compared to the general public. They also had an 84% higher chance of dying from cancer. In terms of different types of cancer, female breast, lung, and colon cancers made up 36% of new primary cases and 39% of all deaths. Lung cancer alone made up 11% of new primary cancer and 24% of all deaths. Sung stated that the results accentuate the importance of high-quality post-treatment care to help reduce risks.