Supportive Cancer Care for Teen and Young Adult Cancer Patients

A cancer diagnosis can leave teens and young adults feeling isolated and alone as they process what this might mean for their future. Young adults and teens living with cancer face unique challenges in their response to a potentially life-changing cancer diagnosis. These patients often feel left behind as they watch their peers go on with their lives, while they feel stuck in cancer treatment. As a result, teens often miss social activities and friends can withdraw because they don’t know how to relate to someone with cancer. In many cases, teens can also fall behind in school.

At University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s, we understand that providing supportive care that addresses these unique needs is just as important as medical care. As part of our commitment to comprehensive, person-centered cancer care, we have a registered nurse navigator on staff whose sole focus is to support teen and young adult patients throughout their cancer journey, as a supplement to their medical treatment. We also have clinical psychologists available within the medical center, so teens and young adults can access the support they need for coping with cancer during treatment. These specialists are highly skilled and trained in understanding how to best provide cancer resources and care for teen patients in a more inclusive way.

Empowering Better Outcomes through Peer-to-Peer Support

It’s rare for teens and young adults to meet others in their age group in everyday life who are going through the same experience. Yet positive connections and a meaningful cancer support network can go a long way toward speeding a patient’s recovery. In fact, the best therapist for a teen with cancer is another teen cancer patient or cancer survivor.

This is especially important for teens who feel displaced throughout their medical treatment. Adolescents and young adults often feel caught in between – surrounded by young patients at a pediatric hospital or older patients at adult facilities. UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s provides an environment just for teens and young adults, which also facilitates important peer-to-peer relationships and conversations. We also provide a cancer caregiver support group, for anyone over the age of 18 who loves someone with cancer. Our support is comprehensive for patients, families and caregivers.

Our teen and young adult peer support groups offer a number of opportunities throughout the year for patients to connect. These meet-ups are not only accessible at our Angie Fowler Adolescent & Young Adult Cancer Institute, but also at conveniently located at community locations  close to home. We also regularly give our patients the opportunity to connect outside of the hospital by hosting meet-ups in restaurants and other venues throughout northeast Ohio

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