Examining Existential Distress in Adolescents with Advanced Cancer (205-3)

4:25 pm – 4:45 pm Thursday, September 15

The life-threatening nature of advanced cancer has many psychosocial effects on both the patient and the family. Adolescents are mature enough to understand death and to have developed life goals, yet are also experiencing a period of distinct developmental challenges and psychosocial dynamics. As a result, existential distress may be highly significant and uniquely experienced by adolescents with advanced cancer. Existential distress and its impact on symptom management, suffering, and other patient outcomes have not been well-studied in adolescents with cancer.

This purpose of this paper is to analyze the concept of existential distress, highlighting and raising awareness of how existential distress may impact adolescents with advanced cancer and their families