MONDAY, July 23 (HealthDay News) -- Many teens and young adults diagnosed with cancer aren't receiving the social, psychological and informational support they require, new research suggests.
Cancer patients aged 14 to 39 have different needs and issues than younger and older patients, the researchers explained.
"When patients in this age group are diagnosed with cancer, they face issues -- premature confrontation with mortality, changes in physical appearance, disruptions in school or work, financial challenges and loss of reproductive capacity -- that can all be particularly distressing," study lead author Bradley Zebrack, associate professor of social work at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, said in a university news release.
"Whether it's mental health care, information for topics like infertility or other aspects of care like camps or retreat programs, this study shows that many of these patients aren't getting the care they need to address these unique challenges," he added.
Zebrack and colleagues surveyed 215 newly diagnosed teen and young adult cancer patients. Those in their 20s were much less likely than teens or patients in their 30s to use mental-health services and were more likely to report an unmet need for information about cancer, infertility and diet.
Young adults who were treated in adult, rather than pediatric, cancer facilities were more likely than teens who were treated in pediatric facilities to report an unmet need for age-appropriate websites, mental-health services, camp and retreat programs, transportation assistance and complementary and alternative health services.
The study was published online recently in the journal Cancer.
The lack of research involving teen and young adult cancer patients makes it difficult for health care providers to create age-appropriate services for them, Zebrack said. This study might help change that.
"Our research shows increasing patient referral to community-based social service agencies and reputable Internet resources can enhance the care and improve the quality of life for this group of patients," Zebrack said. "The more we know about their needs, the better support health care professionals will be able to provide."
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about support for people with cancer.
SOURCE: University of Michigan, news release, July 16, 2012
Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.
Thu Jul 26, 2012 06:16 AM
I have had 4 cancers and have almost died 7 times. I had no support from my family. My daughters ignored me and I never heard from either of them. My husband fixed my meals and gave me my medicine. He never stayed to talk or watch TV. I felt like I was in solitary confinement. He never showed any kind of emotion. For all I knew he could have been hoping I would die. I know the lack of physical and emotional support exacerbated my side affects and recovery. The loneliness was worse than the cancer. People just assume your family is there for you. They could have asked. They could have filled the time for me. It was doubly hard for me. Many times I just felt like it would be better to die. I have chemo brain and it is pretty bad. Now I am treated like an idiot by my family. My friends say they understand. It's a new game. "Guess what Kitty is trying to say!".
Fri Jul 27, 2012 06:19 AM
One of the big issues that you have to fight to be raised is fertilty - sure I might have only had an 8% chance of getting to 5 years with oesophageal cancer (I was diagnosed when I was 32) but I still wanted to hope in the future for children - as it turns out I was given treatment to help but that was only because my then fiance fought for me (we married 2 weeks after chemo) - I am 38 now and have a 1 and 2 year old and we are trying for one more...
Sat Aug 04, 2012 07:38 PM
My daughter is only 30 years old and diagnosed suddenly with advanced colorectal cancer and secondary liver mets. Also in nodes so receiving chemotherpay which she has reacted badly to but other than family helping out the actual hospital have not contacted us to ensure she was okay she took severe reaction to first chemotherapy and was kept in hospital and we thought she had stroke. So from working one day to having emergency tests and being told that getting chemotherapy only pallatively to try to stop it moving to lungs etc. What type of care is out there to help support emotionally etc for such a young person who should have their whole life ahead of them just planning to be married at end of this year to suddenly getting chemotherapy and being so ill. Where is the support. It is definitely lacking. What do people do if they have no family to support them like GK is saying.
Wish there was more help available
L in Scotland
Thu Aug 09, 2012 05:45 PM
Hi, sorry to hear about your daughter. I also live in Scotland and was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in Feb 2007. It had been misdiagnosed by my GP and was only discovered when my bowel blocked. I had a bowel resection ( they removed a stage 4 and a stage 3 tumor)and as it had spread to my liver I had a liver resection 6months later after chemo. It then appeared in my ovaries which they removed Mar 2008,it was then back in my liver and I had another liver resection. It then appeared in my periteneum and that is inoperable. I have had chemo 4 times and radiotherapy once. I now have tumors in lung, spleen, liver (again) and periteneum. The treatment I have had over the last 5 years has been excellent and I have found everyone involved in my care to be very good. When it got to the stage where they would no longer operate I found it beneficial to speak to the staff at Maggies. I don't know where you stay in Scotland, I live in Fife so come under the care of the Western General in Edinburgh. I am still working and have done throughout my treatment although I did have time off to recover from my ops and would work two weeks out of three when on chemo. You may find that the chemo will shrink the tumor in the bowel and then they will be able to operate. Of all the people I have met over the five years I have not met one who has not had a bowel operation. I hope there is something that can be done for your daughter. There is help out there but unfortunatley you have to ask for it.
All the best
Thu Aug 09, 2012 05:55 PM
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