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Feature Article

Adolescents, young adults and cancer: what GPs need to know

MICHELLE NG, VHARI FORSYTH, Toby Trahair, NIGEL CARRINGTON, ANTOINETTE ANAZODO
OPEN ACCESS

Other support and resources

Several Australian resources and support services are available to AYA patients with cancer and their siblings and parents (see Table). Some of these resources can be ordered for medical clinics and all can be accessed online.

Summary

Over the past 10 years, Australian AYA patients with cancer have had access to Youth Cancer Services in each state and territory. These services provide specialist medical, nursing and psychosocial care as well as providing treatment via age-appropriate, peer-supported services. They also allow access to clinical trials for AYAs, enable transition of support between paediatric and adult services, and facilitate long-term, follow-up care. Youth Cancer Services also provide health promotion materials, health surveillance, psychosocial screening and educational, psychological and practical support.

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We need better understanding of the reasons behind the differences in long-term survival of AYA patients with cancer compared with adult and paediatric patients, such as biological differences, and difference in responses to, and side effects of, treatment.

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Continued primary care for AYA patients and their families by GPs is essential during and after cancer treatment, and should be encouraged even for patients with complex problems. It is important that all AYA patients have a GP who understands their cancer history, is familiar with the potential for medical and psychosocial complications and the benefits of adolescent health care and screening, and can provide support to their siblings and parents. MT
 

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COMPETING INTERESTS: None.
 

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Dr Ng is a Fellow at the Kids Cancer Centre, Sydney Children’s Hospital, Sydney, NSW. Dr Forsyth is a Registrar at the Kids Cancer Centre, Sydney Children's Hospital. Dr Trahair is a Paediatric and Adolescent Oncologist at the at the Kids Cancer Centre, Sydney Children's Hospital; and a Senior Lecturer at the School of Women’s and Children’s Health, UNSW Sydney. Mr Carrington is the Youth Cancer Service Manager at the Nelune Comprehensive Cancer Centre, Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney. Dr Anazado is a Paediatric and Adolescent Oncologist at the Kids Cancer Centre, Sydney Children's Hospital, and the Nelune Comprehensive Cancer Centre, Prince of Wales Hospital; and a Senior Lecturer at the School of Women’s and Children’s Health, UNSW Sydney, Sydney, NSW.