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For Immediate Release: March 10, 2010
Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer: Unique Needs Not Fully Met
ROCKVILLE, Md.—Approximately 70,000 adolescents and young adults will develop cancer in the United States each year. Yet their unique needs are not well understood or addressed by many cancer care providers.
"Adolescents are not just old children, and young adults are not the same as 'regular' adults," said Leonard S. Sender, MD. His advice to cancer care providers, "Stop and think before you treat."
At the Association of Community Cancer Centers' (ACCC's) 36th Annual National Meeting in Baltimore, Md., on March 18, 2010, Dr. Sender will examine the unique ancillary needs of adolescents and young adults with cancer, such as fertility management/preservation, psychosocial interventions, and financial support, as well as their long-term follow-up and survivor needs. He will also explore outcomes and how they differ in pediatric and older adult patients.
Dr. Sender is director of the Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Programs at CHOC Children’s Hospital and at the University of California Irvine Medical Center’s Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.
According to Dr. Sender, a number of psychosocial concerns distinguish adolescent and young adult cancer patients.
"This is an age when crucial development stages are being played out," said Dr. Sender. "Physical and sexual maturity, acquisition of skills needed to carry out adult roles, gaining increased autonomy from parents, and realigning social ties with members of both the same and opposite sex."
Some adolescent and young adult cancer survivors fail to form lasting and meaningful relationships, demonstrate increased drug or risk-taking behaviors, and confront unexpected changes to their career path due to medical limitations.
Dr. Sender will explore the gap in long-term follow-up for these young cancer survivors. Too many of these young patients are not provided with a comprehensive care summary and follow-up plan.