I work in pediatric oncology / stem cell transplant at a large cancer center, but our pediatric team is very small. We do not have a formal AYA program (yet) so this is an area that has been a struggle for our pediatric patients who “grow” into survivors with fertility and sexual health issues. In general, our pediatric providers do not have the knowledge, expertise or comfort in discussing these more adult topics with patients. While we do offer an adult survivorship program, I feel that we could do a better job to lay the groundwork in addressing fertility and sexual health at a younger age.
I am embarrassed to say that currently our survivors do not meet with a social worker. We do have behavioral health readily available and willing to assist with these types of issues.
I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to participate in this program because it has highlighted the areas where we definitely need to put some focus and attention and is making me feel more confident in discussing these topics.
I do work in a facility that has a robust AYA program. However, I still think we have large gaps in dealing with some issues such as fertility and moving the patient into survivorship. We are large and siloed making it hard for us to consistently address AYA issues in an effective manner. I too appreciate this course which has given me better messages to send to others about addressing AYA issues.
We also have limited resources. We have nurses and social workers that can provide assistance for pediatric/AYA cancer patients/survivors with differing types of cancer, but not with any focus on gender/faith, etc.
Although I do not work in pediatrics, I am also in the SCT/Leukemia field. One thing that I think is unique to our populations is that oftentimes, time is truly of the essence with these patients. Our program probably only has 20-30 patients a year who are even eligible to attempt fertility preservation. It would take too long for any of the current options for females, so the only fertility preservation that we complete is sperm banking with our AYA male patient. Due to how infrequently this arises in a busy transplant center, we often run around trying to get the sperm banked without any real concept of how the patient feels or emotional connection regarding this topic. I’m hoping that I can use this to be my Dream Big assignment.