Addressing the Needs of Young Patients
70,000 adolescents and young adults (AYA) between ages 15-39 are diagnosed with cancer yearly in the United States. While cancer outcomes for children and older adults have continued to improve over the last 20 years, the AYA group has lagged behind. AYA patients have a unique set of needs that must be continually addressed as they undergo cancer therapy and follow-up care. Issues related to school, work, childcare, fertility, genetics, sexuality, psychology and financial concerns are complex and require a multidisciplinary approach to ensure that these needs are met.
A life-threatening diagnosis is a hard pill to swallow, and when it hits just as your life is taking off, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed, frustrated and scared. However, staying connected to your life, your friends, and your social pursuits can be a powerful weapon on your journey to fight cancer.
Cancer doesn’t define you; it’s just a piece of your story.
During the initial visit, patients will meet with the core team and address the following issues:
- Needs assessment in which unmet social, financial, psychological and spiritual needs will be addressed
- Discussion of issues related to fertility preservation and sexuality
- Discussion and referral to cancer genetics if indicated
- Discussion of whether relevant treatment or supportive care clinical trials are appropriate for the patient
Patients will continue to be treated and cared for by their primary oncologist; however, the AYA support team will be there as an adjunct during their time in cancer therapy, and after its completion. We will continue to follow patients periodically throughout their care to address continuing needs or any new needs that may arise.