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Medicineworld.org: Peer And Family Support For Cancer Survivors

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Peer And Family Support For Cancer Survivors

Peer And Family Support For Cancer Survivors
Adolescent and young adult cancer patients rank support from family, friends and other cancer survivors as high priority healthcare needs, as per a new University of Southern California study. Reported in the recent issue of CANCER, a peer-evaluated journal of the American Cancer Society, the study reveals this traditionally underserved population of 15-29 year-old cancer survivors feels that socially connecting with other cancer-afflicted peers of the same age may in some cases be more beneficial than receiving support from family and friends, contrary to what their physicians believe.

Led by Brad Zebrack, Ph.D., M.S.W. of the University of Southern California School of Social Work in Los Angeles, scientists conducted a comprehensive survey with oncologists, psychology experts, nurses, social workers and young adult cancer survivors to better characterize the needs of this patient population and rank them in terms of importance.

As per Dr. Zebrack, "health professionals and survivors value highly the support of family and friends. However, meeting other young people who share a common experience becomes an opportunity for young adult cancer patients and survivors to address common concerns, such as coping with uncertainty about one's health and future, feelings of being alone and isolated, body changes, sexuality and intimacy, dating and relationships, and employment issues".

The study also observed that this particular population prefers to be treated by physicians who are sensitive to their age-specific needs. They want to see doctors who understand what is important to a young adult at this stage of life, intuitively know how they think and act and, as a result, prescribe therapys best suited for them.

Other high priority health and supportive care needs reported by health professionals and young adult survivors were having adequate health insurance and on-going surveillance and assessment of long-term effects of therapy.

Despite dramatic improvements in childhood cancer survival rates, studies show the occurence rate of cancer in adolescents and young adults has actually risen higher than in children and older adult patients. Moreover, the improvement in five-year survival for this population has been poorer than average. Researchers propose that dramatic physical, psychological and social changes that occur during adolescence may contribute to the different outcomes. Therefore, understanding the unique therapy needs of adolescents and young adults with cancer may yield better understanding of cancer management.

"These findings provide oncology professionals and young adult cancer survivors with insight into each others' values and perspectives," conclude the authors.

They add that the study also points to a need for more age-appropriate educational materials written in a way that makes sense and has meaning for adolescents and young adults.


Posted by: Janet    Source




Did you know?
Adolescent and young adult cancer patients rank support from family, friends and other cancer survivors as high priority healthcare needs, as per a new University of Southern California study. Reported in the recent issue of CANCER, a peer-evaluated journal of the American Cancer Society, the study reveals this traditionally underserved population of 15-29 year-old cancer survivors feels that socially connecting with other cancer-afflicted peers of the same age may in some cases be more beneficial than receiving support from family and friends, contrary to what their physicians believe.

Medicineworld.org: Peer And Family Support For Cancer Survivors

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