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Adolescents and Young Adults 

Adolescents and Young Adults
Chapter:
Adolescents and Young Adults
Author(s):

Catherine Benedict

, Zeba Ahmad

, Vicky Lehmann

, and Jennifer S. Ford

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190934033.003.0004
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date: 05 May 2021

Adolescents and young adults (AYA) represent a unique patient population with a number of age-specific care needs that should be understood and attended to as a part of comprehensive cancer care. The effects of cancer and its treatment on sexual functioning and fertility are common and ranked as among the most distressing survivorship issues faced by this age group. Difficulties associated with sexuality, body image, and intimacy; facing infertility risk; and coping with loss of fertility are all relevant issues for patients across disease and treatment groups. Further, when cancer occurs during this age range, its sequelae can disrupt key developmental tasks and have long-lasting effects on areas of life connected to and affected by sexual and reproductive health problems. Patients are often not fully informed about the sexual side effects and infertility risks associated with treatment and as a result are typically unprepared for the challenges they experience. This chapter describes the challenges AYAs face related to their sexual and reproductive health after a cancer diagnosis, provides information for screening patients for heightened distress and dysfunction, and reviews treatment strategies to help clinicians prepare to discuss these complex issues with AYA patients and survivors.

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