Cancer treatment for children and young adults can be delivered at a local hospital or at a principal treatment centre. This project investigated whether or not there was a difference in the outcome of childhood cancers depending on where someone received their treatment. The analysis demonstrated that where the treatment is given does not change a child’s chances of surviving cancer. Apart from ensuring that people get the best care regardless of location, this also allows healthcare professionals to reassure young adults, and the parents of young children, with cancer that they will get the best treatment wherever they receive it.

Why was this work needed?

When children are being treated for cancer, their treatment is organised at a principal treatment centre, which specialises in treating specific cancers and age groups, but they can also receive some of their treatment at their local hospital. The way in which the treatment is divided between the two can vary dramatically. This variation can cause patients and their carers to worry about whether the location where they receive their treatment will affect their chance of survival.

What happened?

This analysis compared the survival rates of children with cancer according to how their principal treatment centre tended to divide care between local hospitals and principal treatment centres. It found that the survival rates were the same, regardless of the locations of the treatment.

What were the benefits?

This analysis suggests that children consistently have the same survival rates, irrespective of how much of their treatment is delivered at a principal treatment centre. This helps to reassure children with cancer, and their parents, that their chances of survival are not influenced by how their treatment delivery is shared with local hospitals. It also allows care planners to be confident that where the treatment is delivered is not having a negative impact on children and young adults with cancer.

What type of data was involved?

All paediatric oncology principal treatment centres were surveyed on how much they shared cancer care with local hospitals between 1997 and 2009. This was then compared with the numbers of new diagnoses and five year survival rates.

This study involved anonymous data.

Who funded and collaborated on this work?

This work was carried out by the National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN), which has since become part of the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service (NCRAS).

Where can I go for more information?

Shared Care and Survival – CTYA SSCRG