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Cancer Control. 2015 Oct;22(4):475-9.

Palliative Care in Adolescents and Young Adults With Cancer.

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Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL.



Cancer survival rates for adolescents and young adults (AYA) have not improved over time relative to children or adults older than 39 years of age. Palliative care is specialized medical care focused on the control of symptoms and relief of suffering with the goal of improving quality of life for the patient and his or her family. To date, the integration of palliative care in AYA patients with cancer remains suboptimal.


We explore the role of palliative care in the continuum of clinical care for AYA patients with cancer.


Clinical practice guidelines highlight the need for integrating palliative care for all patients with cancer, including the AYA population. Despite this, a paucity of evidence exists regarding the use of palliative care with AYA patients with cancer. Graduate clinical education represents an opportunity to promote the full inclusion and early integration of palliative care in the care of AYA patients with cancer. Advance care planning is one area where some agreement exists on the unique needs of AYA patients and their families.


In general, palliative care is seen as being synonymous with end-of-life care for patients with cancer. However, the emerging trend toward standardizing oncology care to meet the unique medical, psychosocial, and supportive care needs of AYA patients with cancer and their families represents an opportunity for health care professionals to collaborate early with palliative care specialists to control symptoms and relieve suffering in this vulnerable population.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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