About 89,000 adolescent and young adults (AYA) from the ages of 15-39 are diagnosed with cancer each year in the United States. In this episode of the Heart and Soul of Oncology Navigation Podcast, Megan Solinger, MHS, MA, OPN-CG, Director of Patient Navigation at the Ulman Foundation and AYA Patient Navigator at the University of Maryland, and Devon Ciampa, LMSW, Clinical Social Worker at The Johns Hopkins Children's Center and AYA Patient Navigator at the Ulman Foundation, discuss coordination of care for adolescent and young adults with cancer.
Because the AYA population is so unique, nurse and patient navigators need to take a different approach to addressing barriers than with patients of other age ranges. Here are the top 3 takeaways from this episode:
- Going through cancer treatment can be a hindrance to the life experiences that occur during the 15-39 age range such as going to college, planning a family, or moving out on their own. AYA patients are at a transitional point in their life.
- Different ends of the age spectrum need a different approach to care. While a teenager may need more support than someone on the adult end of this range, they still have a better understanding of their own mortality than a pediatric patient may have. While patients on the adult side may have more life experiences and resources, they are still in a part of their life where they are making important life decisions and gaining independence, which may require a different kind of care coordination.
- The patient’s voice needs to be the loudest in the room; it takes a team to encourage this, especially when a patient is younger. The navigator can be a consistent piece throughout a patient’s entire journey, creating access and connections when there is a disconnect.
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Stay tuned for this month’s episode: Professional Development: Mentorship
Wednesday, April 28, 2021 at 7:00 PM EDT