Processes of care and survival associated with treatment in specialist teenage and young adult cancer centres: results from the BRIGHTLIGHT cohort study
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DepartmentBiomedicina, Biotecnología y Salud Pública
SourceBMJ Open 2021;11:e044854
Objective Survival gains in teenagers and young adults (TYA) are reported to be lower than children and adults for some cancers. Place of care is implicated, influencing access to specialist TYA professionals and research. Consequently, age-appropriate specialist cancer care is advocated for TYA although systematic investigation of associated outcomes is lacking. In England, age-appropriate care is delivered through 13 Principal Treatment Centres (TYA-PTC). BRIGHTLIGHT is the national evaluation of TYA cancer services to examine outcomes associated with differing places and levels of care. We aimed to examine the association between exposure to TYA-PTC care, survival and documentation of clinical processes of care. Design Prospective cohort study. Setting 109 National Health Service (NHS) hospitals across England. Participants 1114 TYA, aged 13-24, newly diagnosed with cancer between 2012 and 2014. Intervention Participants were assigned a TYA-PTC category dependent on the proportion of care delivered in a TYA-PTC in the first year after diagnosis: all care in a TYA-PTC (ALL-TYA-PTC, n=270), no care in a TYA-PTC (NO-TYA-PTC, n=359), and some care in a TYA-PTC with additional care in a children's/adult unit (SOME-TYA-PTC, n=419). Primary outcome Data were collected on documented processes indicative of age-appropriate care using clinical report forms, and survival through linkage to NHS databases. Results TYA receiving NO-TYA-PTC care were less likely to have documentation of molecular diagnosis, be reviewed by a children's or TYA multidisciplinary team, be assessed by supportive care services or have a fertility discussion. There was no significant difference in survival according to category of care. There was weak evidence that the association between care category and survival differed by age (p=0.08) with higher HRs for those over 19 receiving ALL or SOME-TYA-PTC compared with NO-TYA-PTC. Conclusion TYA-PTC care was associated with better documentation of clinical processes associated with age-appropriate care but not improved survival.