Experiences of teenagers and young adults treated for cancer in Sweden

Eur J Oncol Nurs. 2015 Oct;19(5):575-81. doi: 10.1016/j.ejon.2015.03.003. Epub 2015 Apr 13.


Purpose: Approximately 600 teenagers and young adults, TYAs (ages 15-29), are newly diagnosed with cancer in Sweden every year and treated in many different units. The knowledge about TYAs is limited and there might be a need for a new approach in the care for this particular age group. The purpose of this study was to identify requirements TYAs in Sweden acknowledge as important to them.

Methods: 44 participants aged 15-29 who were treated at either pediatric or adult cancer units in Sweden, participated in focus group interviews. They were interviewed in groups based on whether they were treated in pediatric (14-18 years old) or adult units (18-29). The focus group interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using qualitative content analysis.

Results: Results of the study can be summarized into four categories: personal professional interaction, knowledge and participation, age-appropriate environment, and support. Important TYA care needs vary over time due to individual situations. The time line of the cancer experience can be described as a continuum; at diagnosis, during treatment, and in life-after cancer treatment.

Conclusions: TYAs treated in Sweden have special needs that are not being satisfied, whether at pediatric or adult units. Areas that need closer attention are: close relatives' participation in the care, information on sex and fertility, age-appropriate social physical environments during treatment, and psychosocial support after treatment. In Sweden, there is a demand for increased knowledge on the special needs for TYAs in clinical practice.

Keywords: Adolescents; Psychosocial issues; Quality of life; Unmet needs; Young adults.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Needs Assessment
  • Neoplasms / complications
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Nurse-Patient Relations
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Psychology
  • Qualitative Research
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sex Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology*
  • Stress, Psychological / physiopathology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden
  • Urban Health Services / organization & administration
  • Young Adult