Any individual diagnosed with cancer
knows to expect a grueling battle fraught with difficult decisions, and tough challenges. In most cases, anywhere they turn they are met with support from loving friends and family. Unfortunately, a recent study discovered that this is only partly true.
In fact, teens, young adults, and even regular adults are often not receiving enough support and encouragement from their peers and family members, and don’t have easy access to information that can answer some of the tough questions they may have. Given the “power of support
” that we recently touched on, this can be a recipe for disaster.What These Patients Might Be Missing Out On
Over 215 newly diagnosed teens and young adults were included in this particular study, and the results were published in the medical journal Cancer
. The research found that many cancer patients between the ages of 14 and 39 were lacking the right assistance. This age group has needs and problems that are much different than those afflicting babies, children, and older patients. Many times, a young adult or teenager may have to go through treatment in an adult cancer facility or teenagers might be placed in a pediatric unit. This gap in understanding the patient’s needs results in unmet needs and programs, and consultations that are not age-appropriate.
Aside from the emotional and mental aspect of this disparity in care, these younger patients may be subjected to physical treatments that aren’t a good match for them either. Teens that undergo aggressive chemotherapy
and bone marrow transplants are more likely to develop debilitating, chronic ailments or diseases later in life. Some gentler treatments are available, and that’s why it’s vital to place the young cancer patient in an appropriate clinic.
Doctors and loved ones alike are not realizing that for many of these younger patients, they may be thinking of things that older patients might not worry about – things like physical appearance, financial troubles, sudden disruptions to school life and social life, and the potential loss of reproductive capacity. Additionally, many of these younger patients don’t seek out or welcome mental health services. Finding the Right Fit
Finding the right fit for a younger cancer patient can really make a difference in their prognosis. Regardless of what the outcome might be for the child, creating a comfortable environment where the patient can just focus on getting better is of the utmost importance. Even though it’s an emotional and tumultuous time for everyone involved, take a moment to step back and see everything from your child’s perspective; you may be surprised to find out that a certain need has gone unmet.Cited Sources
Preidt, Robert. "Young Cancer Patients Often Lack Support: Study." NLM.gov
. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 23 July 2012. Web. 14 Aug. 2012. <http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_127511.html>.
"Children Diagnosed With Cancer: Dealing With Diagnosis." Cancer.org
. American Cancer Society, n.d. Web. 14 Aug. 2012. <http://www.cancer.org/Treatment/ChildrenandCancer/WhenYourChildHasCancer/ChildrenDiagnosedwithCancerDealingwithDiagnosis/index>.
Szabo, Liz. "Children Who Survive Cancer Highly Likely to Get Ill Later." USAToday.com
. USA Today, n.d. Web. 14 Aug. 2012. <http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2006-10-11-cancer-children_x.htm>.
"Boost in Childhood Cancer Survival Rates 'Due to Clinical Trials'" CancerResearchUK.org
. Cancer Research UK, 18 July 2012. Web. 14 Aug. 2012. <http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/news/archive/cancernews/2012-07-18-Boost-in-childhood-cancer-survival-rates-due-to-clinical-trials>.