Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 21, Issue 9, pp 2477–2484 | Cite as

Assessing information and service needs of young adults with cancer at a single institution: the importance of information on cancer diagnosis, fertility preservation, diet, and exercise

  • Abha A. GuptaEmail author
  • Kim Edelstein
  • Alisha Albert-Green
  • Norma D’Agostino
Original Article



Young adults (YA) with cancer have unique psychosocial and medical needs. The objective of this study was to identify information and service needs important to YA cancer patients.


A supportive care needs survey was administered to ambulatory patients (<age 35 years) who were within 5 years of completing therapy at an adult hospital. Participants were asked to rate the importance of 18 sources of information or resources on a scale from 1 to 10. The relationship between gender, type of cancer, current treatment status, and marital status on the importance of these factors was explored using ANOVA.


Median age of 243 respondents was 28 years (range 17–35); 61 % male. The most common diagnoses were: lymphoma (28 %), leukemia (19 %), testis (16 %), CNS (9.5 %), and sarcoma (8.6 %). Forty percent were currently receiving treatment; the majority were single/never married (67 %). Thirty-eight percent of respondents felt it was important or very important to receive care in a dedicated unit with other young people. More than 80 % rated the following items at least 8/10 in importance: information on their specific malignancy (treatment, risk of recurrence), effects of treatment on fertility, information on maintaining a healthy diet, and exercise/physical fitness during cancer treatment. Women were more likely to consider information/service needs more important than men.


YA’s have clear supportive care preferences and needs. Developing programs that incorporate the services identified as important should improve quality of life, psychosocial adjustment, and other outcomes during and after cancer therapy.


Young adults Oncology Program development Health maintenance 



The authors would like to acknowledge Michele Petrovic with her help in administering the surveys and Derek Stephens for his initial statistical consultation. This research was supported in part by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the OMOHLTC.

Conflict of interest

There are no financial disclosures.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abha A. Gupta
    • 1
    • 4
    • 7
    Email author
  • Kim Edelstein
    • 2
    • 3
    • 5
  • Alisha Albert-Green
    • 6
  • Norma D’Agostino
    • 2
    • 5
  1. 1.Division of Medical OncologyPrincess Margaret Cancer CenterTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative CarePrincess Margaret Cancer CenterTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Ontario Cancer InstitutePrincess Margaret Cancer CenterTorontoCanada
  4. 4.Department of PediatricsUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  5. 5.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  6. 6.Department of BiostatisticsPrincess Margaret Cancer CenterTorontoCanada
  7. 7.Princess Margaret Cancer CenterTorontoCanada

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