Young Adult Cancer Survivors Face Long-Term Complications After Remission

Young adult cancer survivors who had received their first rounds of cancer treatment between the ages of 20 and 44 were 1.5 times more likely to have more hospitalizations after remission than the general public.

Young adult cancer survivors who had received their first rounds of cancer treatment between the ages of 20 and 44 were 1.5 times more likely to have more hospitalizations after remission than the general public.

A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that patients specifically with gastrointestinal cancer, leukemia, brain cancer, and lymphoma were twice as likely to be hospitalized at a greater rate, despite recent advances in cancer technology and treatment that have increased survival rates and life expectancy among young adults with cancer.

All patients with cancer, except for melanoma and testicular cancers, generally demonstrated significantly higher rates of hospitalization.

“Even when young adults survive cancer, the cancer still has an impact on their lives and their long-term health,” Nancy Baxter, colorectal surgeon at St. Michael’s Hospital and senior adjunct scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, said in a statement. “And this age group still has a lot of life to live.”

The authors noted that the findings mirrored a similar study that examined children diagnosed with cancer, which found that two-thirds of childhood cancer survivors developed long-term complications from cancer treatment, including chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery.

“The rate of hospitalization for 20-year survivors did not return to baseline, indicating a substantial and persistent burden of late effects among this generally young population,” the authors wrote.

Dr Baxter added that a better understanding of the late effects among the young adult cancer survivors may help to council the population on their future quality-of-life and may also steer them to options not closely linked with the long-term consequences demonstrated in the study.