Care for Adolescent Oncology Patients

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Abstract

The past two decades have seen a marked improvement in the treatment and survival of adolescents and young adults with malignant disorders. For the physician who treats adolescents, this success has introduced a new challenge: to extend the treatment considerations to address the concerns of the individual who is at an age involving emancipation and entrance into an independent life [1]. In recent years, it has become increasingly evident that the needs of the adolescent are sufficiently unique to warrant special care facilities when medical intervention becomes necessary. Nowhere are these needs more prominent than in the treatment of adolescent oncology patients. Extensive chemotherapy and other medical interventions presently used in the treatment of cancer intertwine with difficulties inherent in the process of adolescence and emancipation, and introduce a difficult task for patients, their families, and the medical profession. Parallel to improvement in the medical management and prognosis of cancer patients, increasing attention is directed toward the psychological effects of the disease on the host.