Do you know the most common and deadly cancer found in teens and young adults? You may be as surprised as I was when I read that a new study shows it is brain cancer. It’s also not a particular type of brain cancer, but can vary widely as people age.
"For these individuals -- who are finishing school, pursuing their careers and starting and raising young families -- a brain tumor diagnosis is especially cruel and disruptive," said Elizabeth Wilson, president and CEO of the American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA).
"This report enables us for the first time to zero in on the types of tumors occurring at key [age] intervals over a 25-year time span, to help guide critical research investments and strategies for living with a brain tumor that reflect the patient's unique needs," Wilson said in an association news release.
Researchers look at data from 51 separate cancer registries, representing 99.9 percent of the U.S. population in the 15 to 39 year-old-age group.
While 2 types of tumors were the most frequently found in this age group, brain and central nervous system tumors, the report also noted that other types of cancer became more prevalent as people got older.
"What's interesting is the wide variability in the types of brain tumors diagnosed within this age group, which paints a much different picture than what we see in [older] adults or in pediatric patients," said report senior author Jill Barnholtz-Sloan, an associate professor at Case Western's Comprehensive Cancer Center in Cleveland.
"For example, the most common tumor types observed in adults are meningiomas and glioblastomas, but there is much more diversity in the common tumor types observed in the adolescent and young adult population," Barnholtz-Sloan said in the news release.
"You also clearly see a transition from predominantly nonmalignant and low-grade tumors to predominantly high-grade tumors with increasing age," she added.
Nearly 700,000 people in the United States have brain and central nervous system tumors. And more than 10,600 such tumors are diagnosed in teens and young adults each year, with 434 dying of their disease annually, according to the ABTA.
The most common treatment for brain cancer continues to be surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. However, new research is looking into the development of tailored therapeutics involving a combination of targeted agents that use different molecules to reduce gene activity and suppress uncontrolled growth by killing or reducing the production of tumor cells based on their genetic character. Experimental treatment options may include new drugs, gene-therapy and biologic modulators that enhance the body’s overall immune system to recognize and fight cancer cells.
"There are clearly unique characteristics of the 15-39 age group that we need to more comprehensively understand, and the information in the ABTA report starts that important dialogue," Barnholtz-Sloan said.
The ABTA-funded report was recently published in journal Neuro-Oncology.
Story source: Robert Preidt, http://consumer.healthday.com/cancer-information-5/brain-cancer-news-93/brain-cancers-both-common-and-deadly-among-young-adults-report-shows-708339.html