|CANCER & TREATMENTS FOR CANCER CENTER PATIENTS PREVENTION & RISK ASSESSMENT CLINICAL TRIALS & RESEARCH LIVING WITH CANCER|
Unmet needs: Adolescents and young adult cancer patients lack psychological, social supportA cancer diagnosis for adolescents and young adults can be especially challenging, and new research shows the social, psychological and informational needs these patients have might be going unmet.
Compared to children and older adult cancer patients, adolescents and young adults, ages 14–39, demonstrate a different set of psychosocial needs and issues. Whether these patients are treated in a pediatric or adult setting can influence their clinical and psychosocial well-being.
A new study led by University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers shows significant proportions of patients in this age group are not getting their care needs met.
"When patients in this age group are diagnosed with cancer, they face issues like premature confrontation with mortality, changes in physical appearance, disruptions in school or work, financial challenges and loss of reproductive capacity, which can all be particularly distressing," says Bradley Zebrack, Ph.D., M.S.W., M.P.H., associate professor of social work at the University of Michigan.
"Whether it's mental health care, information for topics like infertility, or other aspects of care such as camps or retreat programs, this study shows that many of these patients aren't getting the care they need to address these unique challenges."
The researchers surveyed 215 newly diagnosed cancer patients between the ages of 14 and 39, and looked at their use of and desire for information resources, emotional support services and practical support services. They found that patients in their 20s were significantly less likely than teens and patients in their 30s to report using mental health services and were more likely to report an unmet need for information about cancer, infertility, and diet and nutrition.
Additionally, compared with teens treated in pediatric settings, young adults treated in adult facilities were more likely to report an unmet need for age-appropriate websites, mental health services, camp and retreat programs, transportation assistance, and complementary and alternative health services.
Zebrack says the results of this study might help medical professionals better tune their care to meet the needs of their adolescent and young adult patients.
Read the complete press release: Unmet needs: Adolescents and young adult cancer patients lack psychological, social support.
U-M offers new skin cancer mobile applicationA new, free application for iPhone and iPad lets users create a photographic baseline of their skin to allow them to discover skin cancer at its earliest stages. Developed at the University of Michigan Health System, the app lets users photograph suspicious moles or other skin lesions, taking them step-by-step through a skin self-exam. The app, UMSkinCheck, sends automatic reminders so users can monitor changes to a skin lesion over time, and provides pictures of various types of skin cancers for comparisons.
The app is designed for the iPhone and iPad and is available to download on iTunes at itunes.apple.com.
"Whole-body photography is a well-established resource for following patients at risk for melanoma. However, it requires a professional photographer, is not always covered by insurance and can be an inconvenience. Now that many people have digital cameras on their phones, it's more feasible to do this at home," says Michael Sabel, M.D., associate professor of surgery at the U-M Medical School.
More than 2 million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer each year, and some 50,000 will be diagnosed with melanoma, the most serious kind. Regular skin checks can help people discover melanoma in its earliest stages.
The app guides users through a series of 23 photos, covering the body from head to toe. Users' photos are stored within the app and serve as a baseline for future comparisons. The app will create a reminder to repeat a skin self-exam on a regular basis.
If a mole appears to be changing or growing, the photos can then be shared with a dermatologist to help determine whether a biopsy is necessary.
"We recommend skin self-exams for everyone in order to detect skin cancer at the earliest stages, when treatment is less invasive and more successful. If you have fair skin or burn easily, have had sunburns in the past, used tanning beds or have a family history of melanoma, you are considered high-risk, so it's even more important," Sabel says.
The app includes a risk calculator that allows users to input personal data to calculate individual risk.
Read the complete press release: U-M offers new skin cancer mobile app.
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