• cancer;
  • psychosocial dimensions;
  • family factors;
  • social factors;
  • psychological factors


Psychosocial research examining the impact of cancer on adolescents and young adults has focused mostly on domains relating to family, psychological/emotional impact and social effects. An overview of the evidence-based literature available in each of these domains is presented to highlight the trends and provide a basis for clinical application. A review of the research literature was conducted to summarize what is known regarding the psychosocial dimensions of cancer in adolescents and young adults. Key elements critical to the psychosocial adaptation of the adolescents and young adults with cancer, as well as later effects of the cancer experience, are discussed in terms of clinical implications. A case example is utilized to demonstrate the application of what has been investigated empirically in regard to psychosocial dimensions of cancer in young adults and adolescents. Studies have identified various psychosocial challenges that adolescents and young adults experience when faced with cancer. Further research, incorporating the effects of treatment stage and developmental level of the patient on specific psychosocial dimensions of the cancer experience, is needed. Evidence-based information regarding the influence and interaction of family, psychological and emotional state, and social status of adolescents and young adults with cancer can aid clinicians when developing psychosocial assessment and treatment approaches for these patients. Cancer 2006. © 2006 American Cancer Society.