Author(s): Zebrack BJ, Mills J, Weitzman TS
Abstract Share this page
Abstract PURPOSE: A sizable body of literature exists for young adult survivors of childhood cancer but relatively little is known about the health and supportive care needs of older adolescent and young adult cancer survivors. This project assessed priority health and supportive care needs for young adult patients and off-treatment survivors. METHODS: 1,088 cancer patients and off-treatment survivors (age 18-39, diagnosed between the ages of 15-35) rank ordered a series of health and supportive care needs. Item rank scores were calculated to prioritize lists of needs for patients receiving treatment and off-treatment survivors, respectively. Differences in rankings based on respondent age, age at diagnosis, years since diagnosis, gender and treatment status (currently receiving treatment or off-treatment) were examined. RESULTS: Availability of state-of-the-art treatment specific to this age-group and having adequate health insurance were the most highly-ranked health care needs. Support from family and friends were the most highly ranked supportive care needs, although younger respondents attributed greater importance to support from family and friends. Older respondents attributed greater importance to availability of age-appropriate information, psychological counseling, and being responsible for one's own health care and decision-making. Younger respondents reported significantly higher needs for fertility information and services and for scheduling treatments to fit their lifestyles. CONCLUSION: Needs of adolescents and young adults with cancer vary along a continuum of care, from diagnosis and treatment through survivorship. Findings emphasize the value of age-appropriate resources and peer support. The study offers direction for delivering services to what previously has been an underserved population.
This article was published in J Cancer Surviv
and referenced in Clinics in Mother and Child Health