For adolescents and young adult (AYA) patients with cancer diagnosed at age 15-39, there has been improvement in 5-year relative survival for multiple cancer types, according to a study published in Cancer. Researchers examined the incidence, mortality, and survival for the nine cancer types with the highest mortality rates in AYAs from 1975 to 2016 using data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results cancer registry and the National Center for Health Statistics. Significant improvement was suggested in the 5-year relative survival for brain and other nervous system tumors, colon and rectum cancer, lung and bronchus cancer, acute myeloid leukemia, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. For female breast cancer, cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, and bone and joint sarcomas, there was limited or no improvement. “Our examination of survival trends among AYAs diagnosed with cancer in the United States shows progress in some cancer types. Explanations for progress in individual cancers include new prevention options; advances in diagnosis and treatment; and containment of risk factors, including HIV/ AIDS and human papillomavirus,” the authors wrote. “Our findings underscore the need for additional research to understand cancers showing poorer progress.”

Remote Monitoring System Reduces Chemotherapy Symptom Burden

For patients receiving chemotherapy, use of an Advanced Symptom Management System (ASyMS) for real-time remote symptom monitoring reduces symptom burden, according to a study published in The BMJ. Investigators conducted a multicenter trial involving 829 patients with nonmetastatic breast cancer, colorectal cancer, Hodgkin’s disease, or nonHodgkin’s lymphoma receiving first-line adjuvant chemotherapy or chemotherapy for the first time in 5 years. Participants were randomly assigned to either ASyMS or standard care (415 and 414 participants, respectively) during six cycles of chemotherapy. Symptom burden remained at prechemotherapy treatment levels in the intervention group, while controls reported an increase from cycle 1 onward. Significant reductions were seen in favor of ASyMS for the global distress index, psychological symptoms, and physical symptoms subdomains of the Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale. Across all cycles, for the intervention group, Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-General scores were higher, while mean scores were lower for State-Trait Anxiety Inventory-Revised trait and state anxiety. The intervention group had higher Communication and Attitudinal Self-Efficacy scale for cancer scores and lower scores in most domains of the Supportive Care Needs Survey Short-Form 34. “Our findings are relevant in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the authors wrote. “The cancer community faces unprecedented challenges in delivering chemotherapy, but ASyMS can provide a safe, secure, and ‘real time’ system that optimizes symptom management and supports patients to remain at home.”