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The ‘lost tribe’ reconsidered: Teenagers and young adults treated for cancer in adult settings in the UK

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/04/2018
<mark>Journal</mark>European Journal of Oncology Nursing
Number of pages6
Pages (from-to)85-90
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date12/02/18
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Although the UK has pioneered the development of specialist adolescent cancer units, the majority of teenagers and young adults (TYAs) continue to be treated at their local hospital or at a cancer centre alongside adults of all ages. This study aimed to elicit young people's views on this experience of having cancer treatment in an adult setting.

Seventeen participants who had been treated for cancer in an adult hospital between the ages of 15 and 24 were recruited via cancer charities and social media. Telephone interviews were conducted with the participants and the resulting data were analysed using thematic analysis.

Already feeling out of sync as a TYA with cancer, participants felt out of place in the adult setting. Four factors contributed to this negative experience: a lack of affinity with older patients; the challenging issues in the adult setting; the absence of empathy towards TYAs by staff; and the unsuitability of the environment for adolescents.

Staff working with TYAs with cancer in the adult setting should be aware of the potentially detrimental impact of this environment on this cohort of patients, and consider ways of adapting and modifying their approach.