Life tasks and challenges in adolescent and young adult cancer survivors

September 10, 2014 admin Cancer

Theories of psychological maturation and growth identify life tasks that older adolescents and young adults face, such as establishing intimate relationships, continuing education, making career and work choices, establishing independent living and planning a family. These issues, challenging in the best of circumstances, are often2014020845chemo compounded and complicated by a cancer diagnosis, its treatment Viagra Australia Pharmacy and subsequent long-term physical and psychosocial effects.

Furthermore, self-concept is a key determinant of the impact of major life changes, for valued aspects of the self (i.e. attitudes, beliefs and values) regulate the meaning, importance and thus the impact of various life experiences on individuals. Empirical findings in the quality of life literature imply that positive psychosocial adjustment for some cancer survivors is associated with an ability to integrate the experience into onea��s self-concept by deriving meaning from the cancer experience, creating changes in life priorities or accepting onea��s mortality.

Social activity and relationships

Young adulthood is a time of increased vulnerability to stress and social pressures and presents cancer survivors with major developmental challenges above and beyond those faced by other young people. For example, negotiating interpersonal relationships (including intimacy and forming families), as well as educational and employment decisions and achievements, often requires a focus, perhaps for the first time, on the medical, social, cognitive or psychological effects of cancer treatment. It is not uncommon for adolescents and young adults with cancer to experience changes in friendships and perhaps a sense of isolation from friends due to lengthy time away from home, school or work for treatments; many friendships may fall by the wayside over time. Adolescents and young adults with cancer may become isolated from friends who they feel may no longer be able to relate to their life situation.

These young patients and survivors report that their friends get uncomfortable continuously talking with them about cancer and as a result they begin to feel a�?differenta�� and perhaps apprehensive about forming new friendships. Consequently, these young people often form new friendship circles, especially as a function of increased maturity and letting go of immature friends. For some, particularly those with brain tumours, the consequences of cancer include being fatigued, perceived by peers as sick, often absent from school and selected less often than healthy peers as a best friend, thereby resulting in social isolation.

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