Objective: Adolescents with cancer pose a unique challenge to
current health systems and the professional working with them. Throughout
the world, it is increasingly recognized that the needs of this particular
group of patients may not be met through existing services within either
the pediatric or adult systems. In Australia, this is a new area of
research, and little is known about the unmet physical, psychological, and
social needs of this patient group. This study reports the outcomes of a
focus group conducted to explore these issues.
Methods: Six young people, with a mean age at diagnosis of 17
years and 6 months, participated in a 2-h focus group. A qualitative
analytic approach was utilized to examine themes.
Results: The participants identified a number of concerns
relating to three broad categories: information provision, treatment
processes, and survivorship.
Significance of results: The research findings support
previously documented evidence that indicate gaps in cancer services
provided to this age group. Importantly, these gaps can be narrowed by
improving access to adolescent multidisciplinary teams and introducing
specific training for health care professionals.