by Dr. Ronald Barr
There is growing recognition that adolescents and young adults (AYA) with cancer are a distinct population with respect to their development and psychosocial needs, the spectrum and biology of their malignant diseases, and their forced fit within the currently dichotomized (adult and pediatric) health care system. These realities provide challenges for optimal health care delivery as well as opportunities in the realms of education and research1,2.
In the UK, stimulated by the Teenage Cancer Trust (TCT), the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has described a strategy for “Improving Outcomes for Children and Young People with Cancer”3 that provides recommendations on service provision based on the best available evidence. It is aimed at both health care administrators and providers of clinical service. Likewise, in Australia the federal government invested $15 million in 2007 to develop a network of multi-disciplinary Youth Cancer Services across the country4.