Evolving Services for Adolescents with Cancer in Italy: Access to Pediatric Oncology Centers and Dedicated Projects

Andrea Ferrari, Paola Quarello, Maurizio Mascarin, Giuseppe M Milano, Assunta Tornesello, Marina Bertolotti, Marco Spinelli, Pamela Ballotta, Marco Read Borghi, Milena Maule, Maria Luisa Mosso, Franco Merletti, Marco Zecca, Andrea Pession

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Abstract

Purpose: To describe how the provision of services for adolescents with cancer has evolved in Italy, the study evaluated access to pediatric oncology centers affiliated to the national cooperative group Associazione Italiana Ematologia Oncologia Pediatrica (AIEOP), and the development of dedicated local projects. Methods: We calculated the observed/expected (O/E) ratio of adolescent patients (15-19 years old) admitted to AIEOP centers during the years 2013-2017. Observed cases were obtained from the AIEOP database (model 1.01). Expected cases were calculated on the incidence rates derived from the population-based registries. In addition, a questionnaire investigated the presence of any formal upper age limits for admitting patients, and to the development of local projects. Results: In the years 2013-2017, 9534 cases of cancer were registered in the AIEOP database, that is, 8031 children (0-14 years) and 1503 adolescents (15-19 years). The overall O/E ratio was 0.81, that is, 1.06 for children, and 0.37 for adolescents, and differed according the different tumor types. Concerning the questionnaire, 26% of centers reported age limits <18 years. Nineteen centers reported to have local projects dedicated to adolescents. Conclusions: The study shows an improvement in the services for adolescents in Italy, with an increase percentage of cases treated at AIEOP centers (from 10% of previous study, to 37%), the decrease of centers with admission age limits <18 years (from 44% 10 years ago, to 26%), and the development of many specific local projects. Effective cooperation with adult oncology societies and government recognition remain goals to be achieved.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Nov 20 2019

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