To Be Young and Have Cancer

Adolescent and young adult patients face unique challenges that oncologists should consider

A cancer diagnosis is life-changing, but it can be an especially disconcerting time for teenagers and young adults, who are still coming to terms with their identities, their bodies and their life paths.

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This special group of patients is both medically and psycho-socially distinct from other, older and younger people with cancer. They may feel out of place in either pediatric or adult practices.

In his latest New York Times column, Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center hematologist/oncologist Mikkael Sekeres, MD, MS, draws insights from his experiences treating a 20-something lymphoma patient.

His main messages to colleagues who may be a generation or more removed from their young adult cancer patients: Be aware, be sensitive, and don’t prejudge.

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Read Dr. Sekeres’ full column here.