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What barriers do South Island adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer patients face during survivorship?

A 2020/2021 Summer Studentship research project

Student: Eleanor Wilding
Supervisors: Tristan Pettit, Louise Sue
Sponsor: Ruth Spearing Cancer Research Trust

Introduction

The South Island AYA Cancer Service cares for 15-24 year olds who are diagnosed with cancer. This patient group is known to be an at risk group, with slower survival improvements seen over time when compared to children or older adult cancer patients. Furthermore, this time period has its own developmental challenges, without the added complexity of a cancer diagnosis. There is a wealth of literature on barriers that AYA cancer patients face following cure from their disease. Such barriers include physical health and mental health, emotional and cognitive health, financial toxicity, reproductive concerns and social isolation. We aim to investigate the presence of these barriers within South Island AYA cancer survivors.

Aim

The results of this studentship will inform regional cancer services in creating improvements in survivorship care e.g. creation of AYA survivorship clinic.

Method

Cross sectional study, utilising an online survey to collect quantitative and qualitative data relating to questions on established AYA survivorship barriers. Aim to offer participation in study to all AYA cancer survivors diagnosed in the past ten years who are alive and contactable. There will be an initial pilot study of the first ten respondents to assess feasibility.

Student researcher’s component of the study

Student will contact potential participants and discuss the study, and will then email information and link to survey. The student will collect and analyse data for the first ten patients included in the pilot study, and then all further respondents who complete the survey during the studentship period. The study may continue beyond the timeframe of the study to allow for further respondents. The student will be invited to remain part of the research group until the completion of the study.

Student prerequisites

Medical student.