UBC Faculty Research and Publications

The Transformation of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncological and Supportive Care in Canada: A Mixed Methods Study Avery, Jonathan; Wong, Emily; Harris, Christine; Chapman, Stacy; Uppal, Serena; Shanawaz, Shaayini; Edwards, Annemarie; Burnett, Laura; Vora, Tushar; Gupta, Abha A.

Abstract

Background: Due to ongoing disparity in the specialized care available to adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with cancer, this study aimed to understand the gaps and barriers to accessing care and preferences on types of solutions at a national Canadian level. Methods: A mixed-methods study involving an online survey and focus groups (FGs) was conducted among AYAs residing in different regions of Canada. Results: There were a total of 174 survey respondents, of whom the majority were between 30–39 years of age (n = 125, 71.8%). Of the 174 respondents, 36 (20.7%) participated in one of seven FGs. Triangulation of the results illustrated that AYAs are not appropriately informed about the long-term health risks of being treated for cancer and where/how to seek support. These results culminated into three themes: (1) the need for AYA relevant and timely information about health risks; by (a) producing health risk-related content with the AYA life stage in mind; (b) providing a guided “map” to help AYAs anticipate what they may experience, and (c) providing checklists to help AYAs navigate their experience; (2) need for tailored and timely supportive care including (a) establishing ongoing check-ins and (b) receiving navigation support, and (3) need for enhanced connections by creating (a) a space to gather, connect and seek mentorship and (b) a hub to access information. Conclusion: AYAs continue to lack sufficient support both during and following cancer and mechanisms are required to ensure longitudinal support is provided across jurisdictions and in all stages of the cancer journey.

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CC BY 4.0