- AYA —
- adolescent and young adult
The completion of cancer treatment in adolescents and young adults (AYAs) is a time that many patients and families approach with hope and excitement but is often tinged with anxiety and fear. In 2005, the Institute of Medicine published a report on navigating and optimizing the transition from active treatment to survivorship in which necessary elements of care for adults completing cancer therapy were defined.1 Recognizing the unique needs of AYAs with cancer who may struggle with different medical and psychosocial needs at treatment completion, the Institute of Medicine suggested developing new models for transitioning AYAs with cancer to survivorship care.2 However, many children and AYAs with cancer feel unprepared and unsupported in this transition,3,4 which may have long-term implications for AYA engagement in survivorship screening and care.5 Below, we describe a young man’s (S.P.) personal experience moving from treatment to survivorship as well as that of his oncologist (K.A.G.), and together we offer recommendations for supporting children and teenagers with serious illness at the completion of therapy. Although many other family members and providers played an integral role in this patient’s care and transition to survivorship, in this piece, we focus on our experiences as patient and oncologist.
Patient Perspective (Mr Perez)
The moment your oncologist tells you the date of your final treatment, you realize that your cancer has an expiration date. Although the excitement and eagerness to finish my treatment kept me restless and energized, what I failed to anticipate were many other challenges and worries that would simultaneously come with finishing treatment. For me, completing treatment and …
Address correspondence to Katie A. Greenzang, MD, EdM, Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, 450 Brookline Ave, Boston, MA 02215. E-mail: