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60% of bone cancers occur in teenagers and young adults, reveals Mumbai hospital’s study

The study found that the emotional needs of teenage patients are different from those of adult and paediatric patients

mumbai Updated: Sep 03, 2017 00:23 IST
Aayushi Pratap
Aayushi Pratap
Hindustan Times
bone cancer,Tata Memorial Hospital,Mumbai doctors
An installation at Tata Memorial Hospital depicts what a cancer ward for teenagers and young adults should look like.(HT)

As much as 60% of bone cancers occur in teenagers and young adults between 15 and 30, found a study conducted by Tata Memorial Hospital. Doctors revealed their findings during the two-day long 6th national conference on teenage and young adult cancers at THM on Saturday.

Of 2,100 patients, who were admitted to TMH’s unit for bone-related cancers in 2010, 60% were between 15 and 30. Most were afflicted by Osteosarcoma, followed by Ewing’s sarcoma.

Dr Ashish Gulia, associate professor, orthopaedic oncology, who conducted the study, said the findings indicate the need to look at this age group differently, as against how paediatric and adult cancers are studied. “Of these patients, nearly 40% refused to undergo treatment initially, fearing hair loss and infertility —both of which are common,” he said.

He said these patients should have a special ward, which TMH currently does not have. “The emotional needs of these patients are so different from those of adult and paediatric patients. There is a lack of acceptance this age group. They need to be counselled differently,” he said.

Dr Sripad Banavali, head of paediatric oncology, TMH, said teenage and young adult cancers make up 7% to 10% of all cancer cases. “We would admit young adults to paediatric wards, but if the beds were too small for them, they would be moved to the adult ward. This was stressful for them as they started believing that like most adults with cancers, they would also not be cured,” he said. The Advanced Centre for Treatment, Research and Education in Cancer, in Kharghar will have a ward for young adults.

First Published: Sep 03, 2017 00:23 IST