Advancing Spiritual Care Through Research

The Adolescent and Young Adult with Cancer: State of the Art – Psychosocial Aspects

Abstract: Adolescents and young adults with cancer are a distinct subgroup of patients within oncology. From the onset of symptoms until the completion of therapy and beyond, they face physical, psychological, and social challenges that are significantly different from those of adults and children. Survival rates and quality of life outcomes for this population have not improved to the same extent that have for younger and older patients. Improvements in quality of care, overall survival and quality of life for these patients require access to specialized care and participation in clinical trials; assistance with management of disease and treatment effects (especially fertility and body image issues); assessment of psychosocial needs; facilitated transition to off-treatment care; and referral to age-appropriated information and support services. Staff team caring for young patients must be dedicated to working with this age group and should have specialist knowledge and training to support their specific needs.