Understanding the Needs of Young Adult Cancer Survivors
A Clinical Perspective:
Young cancer survivors are often unprepared to face the complexities of adjusting to post-treatment life.They may be pleased that treatment is ending but worried about losing the support, security, and scrutiny provided by their healthcare team. Uncertainty about the prognosis for long-term, cancer-free survival often threatens their sense of control, emotional well-being, functional adjustment, and comfort with future planning. Many feel isolated, mistrust their bodies, and must adjust to an altered self-image as well as changes in relationships and sexual functioning. It can be daunting to deal with physical late effects, challenges to daily living, and employment and insurance issues. Using direct quotations from young cancer survivors, this article shares their special perspective and provides guidance as to their informational, practical, and psychosocial needs.
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By Rachel Odo, LCSW, Clinical Oncology Social Worker, CancerCare, Inc. New York, New York; Clarissa Potter, LCSW, Clinical Oncology Social Worker, Manager, Quality of Care Initiative, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York | October 8, 2009