My name is Jackie Balliot. Halfway through my Sophomore year of High School at the age of 15, I was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma. While I received world class care at my hospital, there was a lack of focus on adolescents and young adults. Aside from the occasional teen night, there was no specific activity or space for people my age going through the same thing. Throughout my survivorship, I have seen amazing progress happen in the world of AYA cancer care. Teen Cancer America is largely to thank for this. AYA’s are finally getting the space, research, and expertise that we deserve, which ultimately improves the quality of our care. However, there is still work to be done.
I recently finished nursing school completing an honors project on the unmet needs of adolescent and young adult cancer survivors. I found that there are four areas of concern that are largely unaddressed for AYA survivors: fertility, psychosocial implications of cancer survivorship, recurrence concerns, and survivorship care planning. I just started a job at the North Carolina Cancer Hospital as a registered nurse and I’m passionate about addressing these issues in my young adult patients and working with the AYA program and Teen Cancer America to continue to better the care of AYA cancer patients and survivors.
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