As the treatment of pediatric cancer progresses, the rate of survivors increases. This is great! But now, the medical community is dealing with issues that arise post-treatment. The stress that a cancer patient goes through as a child can be traumatic and emotionally damaging. As adults, these patients are more susceptible to post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and other psychological diseases. These problems lead to difficulties in making life-decisions and keeping healthy and intimate relationships (Kolb par. 7). These problems need not only be properly addressed, but they need to be prevented.
The transition from adolescence to adulthood can be a rigid, bumpy road. This is without any health issues. Patients will childhood illnesses have it much, much worse. According to a study in Royal Children’s Hospital in Australia, “Successful continuity of health care is dependent upon collaboration among adult care providers, pediatric care providers, and patients. Hospital-based transition programs allow for continuous collaboration to improve the system and overcome barriers” (Kolb 3). One model of transition care is called the medical-home model. This model dictates primary-care providers to treat every aspect of healthcare, including emotional healthcare. Through this process, the family and support of the child must be involved as well.
Currently, there are obstacles to integrating medicine into this holistic treatment. Many adult-care providers are not aware of the long-term affects of cancer (Kolb 7). Also, many parents do not let their children come to terms with their disease. They do not use medical terms and avoid any words that insinuate illness (Kolb 7). This attitude needs to change in order for patients to grow into healthy adults.
As medicine progresses, treatments will inevitably improve. The medical community will realize that holistic treatment of patients is not just a recommendation but also a necessity. The patients who were courageous and brave as they fought their battles deserve the best treatment that we can possibly give.