Transition for Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer

  • Imelda CoyneEmail author


Adolescents and young adults (AYAs) who survive cancer require long-term physical and psychological cancer-related follow-up care in an adult healthcare service. This means that they must transition from the child cancer unit to adult care provision. Transitioning to adult care is very challenging for many AYAs as it involves developmental, situational and role change transitions. AYAs often feel lost and abandoned and have unmet needs in relation to information, transition preparation and advice about late effects. To provide high-quality person-centred care, it is essential that AYAs are provided with the necessary knowledge and skills to make a smooth transition and to successfully manage their own healthcare needs within the adult healthcare services. Nurses as key members of the multidisciplinary team can play a significant role in preparing and coordinating the transition for AYAs to long-term follow-up care. Nurses can make a real difference to AYAs’ experiences by providing information, education and support before, during and after transition to adult care. Increasingly, nurses are leading on joint transition clinics and coordinating and delivering transition programmes. Nurses are in a unique position, through their competencies and 24/7 contact with AYAs and families, to improve the experiences for many AYAs who survive cancer.


Nurses Roles Adolescents Young adults Cancer Transition Barriers Facilitators Healthcare 



Special thanks to Daniel, Aoife and Lucy (pseudonym) who were so kind to share their experiences with me and to allow their stories to be published. Their experiences vividly illustrate the challenges for young people who survive childhood cancer. I am so grateful and privileged to hear their stories and hope we can make the transition easier for other survivors of childhood cancer.


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Useful Websites

  1. which is a dedicated advocacy group for survivors of childhood and adolescent cancer and their families.
  2. is a charity that comprehensively addresses young adult cancer through advocacy, research, support, outreach, awareness, mobile health and social media.
  3. (Paediatric Oncology Resource Centre) is for parents, friends and families of children who have or had childhood cancer.
  4. Planet Cancer (, a vibrant, one-of-a-kind community of support and advocacy for young adults with cancer.
  5. is a social networking site for young adults with cancer.
  6. addresses young adult cancer through advocacy, research, support, outreach, awareness, mobile health and social media.
  7. is a non-profit organisation nationwide that focuses on providing direct financial support to young adults with cancer ages 18–40.
  8. resources and templates co-designed by young people with chronic conditions and which provides advice structured around the three phases of transition, thinking, planning and doing transition.
  9. NICE guideline on transition from children to adults’ services for young people using health or social care services. Published: 24th February 2016.
  10. National Healthcare Transition Center which provides resources for youth and families, healthcare providers, researchers and policy-makers.

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College DublinThe University of DublinDublinIreland
  2. 2.Trinity Research in Childhood Centre, Trinity College DublinThe University of DublinDublinIreland

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