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Making transitions is part of being a pediatric cancer patient.
Diagnosis to treatment. Treatment to follow-up care. Follow-up visits to long-term survivor care.
Moving from pediatric to adult health care is one of the most important transitions. It marks the time when patients take responsibility for their medical well-being.
The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that parents and patients plan for this transition when the patient is between ages 14 and 18.
After therapy is over, patients who are younger than 18 will likely get regular medical care from their pediatrician in their home community.
But around the age of 18, patients should begin seeing a provider for adults, usually a family medicine or internal medicine doctor. Family medicine doctors may see patients from infants to adults. Internal medicine doctors treat adults. Many women also choose to see a gynecologist.
Childhood cancer survivors may also need to seek the care of specialists in their community such as an endocrinologist or cardiologist.
Parents and the pediatric care team can help teens and young adults prepare to manage their medical care. For example, patients need to know how to:
Parents, patients, and the care team can:
The goal is to have this transition happen sometime between age 18 and the early 20s.
Patients will first need to determine how they will pay for care. That will have a large influence on the providers they select.
Patients may also want to ask their pediatric cancer care team for referrals to providers in their community.