Long-term childhood cancer survival in Australia using period estimation

What is known?

Statistics on cancer survival are usually for five years from the time of diagnosis. This is because most of the deaths that occur due to cancer are within the first few years. However, children with cancer are known to be at an increased risk of dying for a longer period due to the possible late effects of their cancer or their cancer treatments.

What is new?

Using information from the Australian Childhood Cancer Registry, we estimated survival at 10 and 20 years after diagnosis, using a method that incorporates the outcomes for patients who were diagnosed more recently. Our results showed that 84% of people diagnosed with cancer during childhood (0-14 years old) were still alive 20 years later. As the length of time from diagnosis increased, there were only minor decreases found in survival for most types of childhood cancer except for some types of brain and liver tumours.

What does this mean?

Fear of cancer recurring can impact on the quality of life for survivors of childhood cancer and their families. Information on longer-term survival is therefore valuable to assist childhood cancer patients and their families as they plan for the future.

Contact: Danny Youlden

Reference: Youlden DR, Baade PD, Aitken JF. Long-term childhood cancer survival in Australia using period estimation. Pediatric Blood & Cancer. 2022. doi: 10.1002/pbc.30136:e30136.

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