Between 1977 and 1984 the proportion of children with malignant disease in Britain initially referred to specialist paediatric oncology centres increased from 44% to 71%. The percentage varied considerably with type of disease and region of residence. Children with acute non-lymphoblastic leukaemia, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, Ewing's tumour, rhabdomyosarcoma, and (during 1981-84) osteosarcoma treated at paediatric oncology centres had significantly higher survival rates than those treated elsewhere. Children with cancer should be referred to specialist centres so that they may benefit as early as possible from the latest advances in treatment.
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