McMaster University pediatric cancer specialist Dr. Ronald Barr says the teen gap in cancer care has been overlooked for far too long. Statistics show that gains in survival rates for teenagers and young adults (age 15-29) with cancer are dismal when compared to those for youngsters and older adults with the disease.Barr is one of the editors of the recently released and first definitive document on the incidence, survival and mortality of 15-29 year-olds.
“While there have been improvements in survival in children and older adults in recent decades there has been no such improvement in this age group in the past 25 years or so,” said Barr, a professor of pediatrics of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University and chief of hematology-oncology at McMaster Children’s Hospital.
Barr, who is involved in local, national and international efforts to reverse this trend, is available for interviews to discuss this issue.
Barr is one of the editors of the recently released and first definitive document on the incidence, survival and mortality of 15 – 29 year-olds. Funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in the United States, this monograph was a co-operative venture between the Children’s Oncology Group (all 17 pediatric oncology centers in Canada and more than 200 American institutions) and the SEER (Survival Epidemiology and End Results) program.
Barr is a member of the NCI and Lance Armstrong Foundation’s new Progress Review Group whose sole purpose is identifying and prioritizing the scientific, medical and psychosocial barriers facing adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer patients. They plan to develop strategies to better the odds for this age group.
“The Lance Armstrong Foundation is very keen to advocate for young people with cancer and educate them in high schools, colleges and work places to the fact cancer can afflict people in their age group – and that when they get a lump they shouldn’t say ‘it’s just a lump’ but that it might be a form of cancer,” Barr said.