(ChemotherapyAdvisor) – The psychosocial needs of adolescents and young adult oncology patients are not being met, according to a team of US-based researchers. This conclusion is based on a study entitled “Psychosocial service use and unmet need among recently diagnosed adolescent and young adult cancer patients,” which was published online in Cancer on June 28. 

In this study, the investigators aimed to investigate the unmet psychosocial needs of adolescents and young adults (AYAs) treated in pediatric or adult oncology settings. To meet this aim, the investigators surveyed 215 AYAs ages 14 to 39 years for their use of informational resources, emotional support services, and practical support services.

The following results were reported. ”AYAs aged 20 to 29 years were significantly less likely than adolescents and older patients aged 30 to 39 years to report using professional mental health services and were significantly more likely to report an unmet need with regard to cancer information, infertility information, and diet/nutrition information,” the investigators wrote. “Compared with teens treated in pediatric facilities, AYAs who were treated in adult facilities were more likely to report an unmet need for age-appropriate Internet sites, professional mental health services, camp/retreats programs, transportation assistance, and complementary and alternative health services.”

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The investigators concluded that meeting psychosocial care needs in AYAs will require the bolstering of psychosocial support staff and patient referral to community-based social service agencies, as well as reputable Internet resources that potentially improve their quality of life.