Joint Topic: AYA Health Transitions — Supporting Adolescent & Young Adult Early Survivors of Childhood Cancer Through Health Care Transitions (219-1)

3:30 – 4:30 pm Friday, October 29

Adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with cancer face unique challenges as they transition from active cancer-directed therapy to early survivorship. Developmentally at this age, the autonomy and decision-making capacity of these patients increases, and their priorities shift to a focus on issues such as school, career, and relationships.

This is also a time when AYAs reach the age of majority and the ability to legally consent to their health care. AYAs who are treated for cancer in a pediatric center also face the need to transition from pediatric healthcare providers to those who specialize in the care of adults. Depending on the model of care and transition policies of the organization, the actual transfer of care for the patient’s primary care provider, oncologist, and any applicable subspecialists may occur at different timepoints. The novel Transition Oncology Program (TOP) provides multidisciplinary systematic and prospective services for patients and their families as they transition from active therapy to early survivorship. Nurse practitioners, social workers, academic coordinators, psychologists, and a rehabilitation services coordinator compose the TOP team and assess for the psychosocial, cognitive, and physical effects of cancer and cancer-directed therapy. TOP implemented an AYA-specific curriculum designed to cover the knowledge needed to address the unique needs of AYA patients, such as assessing transition readiness; reviewing patients’ health history and potential for late effects; providing resources related to disability accommodations in higher education and the workplace; and educating on health literacy skills such as filling prescriptions, making appointments, signing advance directives, and maintaining health insurance coverage. This session will review the unique medical and psychosocial needs and challenges of AYAs with cancer and describe specific interventions to address these challenges and support AYA healthcare transitions.