Even after accounting for stage at diagnosis and subtype of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), children and teens with NHL have better survival than young adults with NHL. These results were published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) is a form of cancer that begins in the cells of the lymph system. It is characterized by excessive accumulation of cancerous lymphocytes, which can crowd the lymph system and suppress the formation and function of other immune and blood cells.

To explore how outcomes vary among young people with NHL, researchers collected information from large cancer registries. From 1992 through 2001, information was available for 2,442 NHL patients between the ages of 0 and 29.

Compared with children and adolescents, young adults (20-29 years of age) were roughly twice as likely to die. Differences in survival by age persisted even after accounting for stage at diagnosis and NHL subtype.

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These results suggest that young adults with NHL have a higher risk of death than children and teens with NHL. In order to improve outcomes among young adults, the researchers recommend greater enrollment in clinical trials and increased access to care.

Reference: Tai E, Pollack LA, Townsend J, Li J, Steele CB, Richardson LC. Differences in non-Hodgkin lymphoma survival between young adults and children. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. 2010;164:218-224.

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