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Supporting Adolescents and Young Adults With Cancer Through Transitions: Position Statement From the Canadian Task Force on Adolescents and Young Adults With Cancer

Wilkins, Krista L. PhD; D’Agostino, Norma PhD, C Psych; Penney, Annette M. RN, MN; Barr, Ronald D. MB ChB, MD; Nathan, Paul C. MD, MSc

Journal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology: October 2014 - Volume 36 - Issue 7 - p 545–551
doi: 10.1097/MPH.0000000000000103
Original Articles

Objective: This position statement from the Canadian Task Force on Adolescents and Young Adults with cancer aims to (1) conceptualize the numerous transition experiences encountered by adolescents and young adults (AYA) with cancer; and (2) provide recommendations on how to help the AYA regain a sense of control over their lives as they adjust to these transition experiences.

Methods: We reviewed and synthesized a heterogeneous sample of studies and recommendations, ranging from well-designed case-controlled investigations to opinions of respected authorities based on clinical experience, and reports of expert committees.

Results: We describe the key factors that have an impact on different transitions during the cancer journey, and the need for developmentally appropriate services for AYA with cancer that consider both the system issues and individual transition issues. Our recommendations are not intended to be prescriptive, but they are broad enough to be applicable in different types of settings (eg, family doctor, cancer center, specialty service) and systems beyond health care (eg, school system, social system).

Conclusions: The Task Force urges health care providers, parents, and AYA with cancer to work together in planning and implementing strategies that will enable individuals to navigate the transitions they encounter along the cancer journey successfully, and strive for meaningful participation in life situations, achieving their potential as fully functional members of society.

*Faculty of Nursing, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, NB

Departments of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre

Department of Pediatrics, The Hospital for Sick Children and University of Toronto, Toronto

§Departments of Pediatrics, Pathology and Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON

Department of Hematology/Oncology, IWK Health Centre, Halifax, NS, Canada

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Reprints: Krista L. Wilkins, PhD, Faculty of Nursing, University of New Brunswick, 33 Dineen Drive, Fredericton, NB, Canada E3B 5A3 (e-mail:

Received October 1, 2013

Accepted December 2, 2013

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