Providing developmentally appropriate psychosocial care to adolescent and young adult cancer survivors

Authors

  • Norma M. D'Agostino PhD, CPsych,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Department of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care, Princess Margaret Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    • Department of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care, Princess Margaret Hospital, 610 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5G 2M9
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    • Fax: (416) 946-2047

  • Annette Penney RN, MN,

    1. Department of Hematology/Oncology, IWK Health Center, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
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  • Brad Zebrack PhD, MSW, MPH

    1. University of Michigan School of Social Work, and University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, Socio-Behavioral Program, Ann Arbor, Michigan
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  • The articles in this supplement represent presentations and discussions at the “International Workshop on Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer: Towards Better Outcomes in Canada” that was held in Toronto, Ontario, March 11-13, 2010.

  • Workshop on Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer: Towards Better Outcomes in Canada, Supplement to Cancer.

Abstract

To deliver developmentally appropriate psychosocial care, the key developmental tasks facing adolescents and young adults (AYA) need to be taken into consideration. These include establishing autonomy from parents; a personal set of values and identity; strong peer relationships, including intimate and sexual relationships; and obtaining adequate preparation to join the workforce. To minimize the amount of disruption caused by the cancer experience and to maximize the health-related quality of life of AYA patients, young individuals with cancer need opportunities to participate as much as possible in typical AYA activities and to master the developmental tasks of this life stage. Promoting a sense of normalcy is essential. To achieve this, the health care environment must be flexible and recognize the important role of peers. Informational and practical supports also are necessary for AYA to stay on track developmentally in the context of coping with cancer. Critical elements of effective AYA psychosocial services should include access to AYA-specific information and support resources, fertility and sexuality counseling, programs to maximize academic and vocational functioning, and financial support. Cancer 2011;117(10 suppl):2329–34. © 2011 American Cancer Society..

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