Symptom burden is significant in young adults with cancer in the year post-diagnosis

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Adolescents and young adults (AYAs) diagnosed with cancer experience a substantial symptom burden during the year following their diagnosis, according to a study that found high levels of tiredness, poor well-being, and anxiety among young adult patients.

Important risk factors influencing symptom severity include metastatic disease, female sex, treatment types received, and age at diagnosis.

A comparison with older adults (those over 40 years old) found statistically significant differences in symptom severity, with AYAs having higher odds of experiencing moderate to severe symptoms, including pain, tiredness, nausea, depression, anxiety, and poor well-being.

Patients diagnosed with sarcoma reported the worst scores for all symptoms at the time of diagnosis. Specifically, individuals with sarcoma experienced high levels of pain, tiredness, nausea, depression, anxiety, and poor well-being.

Symptom severity varied across different clinical tumor groups, and sarcoma stood out as having particularly challenging symptom experiences at the time of diagnosis. This information underscores the importance of recognizing and addressing the specific needs of individuals diagnosed with sarcoma to enhance their quality of life and well-being during cancer treatment and recovery.

Harper A, Maseja N, Parkinson R, et al. Symptom severity and trajectories among adolescent and young adult patients with cancer. JNCI Cancer Spectr. 2023;7(6):pkad049. doi: 10.1093/jncics/pkad049. PMID: 37943323; PMCID: PMC10634503.