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Saturday 20th January 2018

Teens not included in cancer trials

28th November 2008

New evidence has emerged to indicate that teenagers with cancer are not being included in UK clinical trials which could improve their chances of survival.

In trials from 2005 to 2007 only 25% of 15 to 19 year olds were recruited to take part.

This, according to reports in the British Journal of Cancer, compares with 43% of those aged 10 to 14. In addition, no-one aged over 16 was included in any of the four brain cancer trials available.

In Australia and America, similar trends have also been noted where teenagers are not being included in clinical trials.

Dr Lorna Fern, who co-ordinates research into teenagers and young adults with cancer at the National Cancer Research Institute, said: "In 2005 NICE issued guidance that said all children and young people should be offered entry into a clinical trial."

However, she explained that a problem for the poor recruitment of teenagers to trials is that they fall between children and adult specialities.

One of the authors of the latest study, Teenage Cancer Trust chief executive Simon Davies, said the aim was to double the number of teenagers and young adults in clinical trials over the next five years.

He said: "Young people are constantly falling through the gap between paediatric and adult cancer specialists and there are not enough trials for the types of cancers that affect them.

"For the ones that do exist, often the age range excludes them from being treated. In too many cases they are simply not offered the choice of entering a trial."


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