The American Society of Clinical Oncology and LIVESTRONG have started an education curriculum for physicians designed to build awareness of and provide training to address the specific challenges of treating adolescents and young adults with cancer.
“What often goes unrecognized is that the biology of cancers in adolescents and young adults is different from that of both younger and older cancer patients,” ASCO President George W. Sledge Jr., MD, said in a news release. “This is an area of cancer care where ASCO and LIVESTRONG can combine our strengths to drive increased awareness for doctors and improved outcomes for patients who are in the prime of their lives.”
This is the first time the two organizations have teamed up to provide an education series for oncologists and primary care physicians. Focus Under Forty is designed to help them better understand the unique challenges regarding support, diagnosis, treatment, and fertility of cancer patients age 15 to 39.
In many cases, this group of patients is challenged with inadequate or no health coverage, the organizations note. There can also be a delay in diagnosis or referrals if cancer is overlooked as a possibility due to the age of the patient. This age range of people living with cancer may also have physical and psychosocial concerns, including knowledge about fertility preservation options and relationship challenges.
The curriculum is divided into three courses: The first module within Course I, which is designed for health care providers in oncology, launched on ASCO University, ASCO's online learning center, available at www.university.asco.org/focusunder40.
Coming soon is the rest of that course, with modules on Supportive Care, Survivorship, and Diagnosis and Treatment.
A second course for oncologists, focusing on issues relating to fertility and preservation, is planned to be available in the spring.
The third course will be a webinar for primary care physicians and health care providers and will be available as a broadcast in January 2011. The fourth course, also for primary care practitioners, will focus on the topics of accurate and timely diagnosis of cancer and supportive care, and emphasis will also be placed on the importance of coordinating care between primary care and oncology specialists.