Background Due to the complexity of diagnosis and treatment, care for children and young adolescents with cancer preferably occurs in specialised paediatric oncology centres with potentially better cure rates and minimal late effects. This study assessed where children with cancer in the Netherlands were treated since 2004. Methods All patients aged under 18 diagnosed with cancer between 2004 and 2013 were selected from the Netherlands Cancer Registry (NCR) and linked with the Dutch Childhood Oncology Group (DCOG) database. Associations between patient and tumour characteristics site of care were tested statistically with logistic regression analyses. Results This population-based study of 6021 children diagnosed with cancer showed that 82% of them were treated in a paediatric oncology centre. Ninety-four percent of the patients under 10 years of age, 85% of the patients aged 10–14 and 48% of the patients aged 15–17 were treated in a paediatric oncology centre. All International Classification of Childhood Cancers (ICCC), 3rd edition, ICCC-3 categories, except embryonal tumours, were associated with a higher risk of treatment outside a paediatric oncology centre compared to leukaemia. Multivariable analyses by ICCC-3 category revealed that specific tumour types such as chronic myelogenous leukaemia (CML), embryonal carcinomas, bone tumours other type than osteosarcoma, non-rhabdomyosarcomas, thyroid carcinomas, melanomas and skin carcinomas as well as lower-staged tumours were associated with treatment outside a paediatric oncology centre. Conclusion The site of childhood cancer care in the Netherlands depends on the age of the cancer patient, type of tumour and stage at diagnosis. Collaboration between paediatric oncology centre(s), other academic units is needed to ensure most up-to-date paediatric cancer care for childhood cancer patients at the short and long term.

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European Journal of Cancer
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Reedijk, A., van der Heiden-Van der Loo, M., Visser, O., Karim-Kos, H., Lieverst, J.A. (J. A.), de Ridder-Sluiter, J. G., … Pieters, R. (2017). Site of childhood cancer care in the Netherlands. European Journal of Cancer, 87, 38–46. doi:10.1016/j.ejca.2017.09.030