1st Edition

Perspectives from a Psych-Oncology Team Working with Teenagers and Young Adults with Cancer Thrown Off Course

Edited By Jane Elfer Copyright 2023
    190 Pages
    by Routledge

    190 Pages
    by Routledge

    Exploring the work of a Psych-Oncology Team in an inpatient and outpatient setting, this powerful, interesting, and engaging book is about teenagers and young adults diagnosed with cancer.

    As part of the few multidisciplinary teams of this type in the United Kingdom, the authors offer helpful insights into supporting young people and their families as they navigate this complex and devastating disease, writing on key areas such as trauma, the effects of early childhood cancer in adolescence and beyond, the social and cultural effects of cancer treatment, hope, and hopelessness, and questions of mortality. Each chapter contains a mixture of clinical reflections and patient vignettes, along with clear guidance about how to support patients and their families both during and after treatment, and at the point of death too.

    With a compassionate approach to understanding the challenges for patients, their families, and clinicians alike, this is a book for nurses, doctors, occupational therapists, and physiotherapists, for parents and carers, and for young people who find themselves in this position and who can easily feel as though they are alone with their overwhelming feelings.


    Jane Elfer

    1 Overview: cancer in teenagers and young adults and psycho-oncology

    Mike Groszmann

    2 The cancer journey

    Mike Groszmann

    3 Adolescents with cancer: a journey interrupted

    Jane Elfer

    4 Keeping young adults with cancer connected: a psychologist’s reflections

    Anna Galloway

    5 Cancer in adolescence from a trauma perspective

    Daniel Glazer

    6 Reverberations through the mind: explorations of emotional complexities arising from childhood cancer and its "late effects"

    Petra A. M. Mohr

    7 Hope and despair in the face of life-threatening disease

    Claudia Henry

    8 Working with families where a young person is facing death

    James McParland, Cristian Pena, & Sara Portnoy


    Jane Elfer is a child and adolescent psychotherapist. She worked at UCLH for 18 years, working in all paediatric departments but mainly in the paediatric cancer services. Prior to this, she had worked in CAMHS, social care, the NSPCC, and primary schools. Her professional doctorate looks at the emotional impact of adolescents donating bone marrow to a sibling. Since retiring from the NHS, she continues to work with children and young people, her professional body, and a charity for children in hospital.

    ‘This book is an essential read for any health professional working in the field of teenage and young adult cancer. It provides an exceptional combination of published evidence alongside personal and honest reflections of experts in this field. A range of thought-provoking case studies beautifully illustrate the complexity of supporting young people through their cancer journey and at last provides some practical advice for health professionals. Thank you for a much needed and wonderful book!’

    Rachael Hough, consultant haematologist, University College London Hospital’s NHS Foundation Trust and professor of Haematology and Haematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation, University College London

    ‘This comprehensive book traces the huge developments in the field of psych-oncology, identifying the apparent lack of psychological services for teenagers with cancer, and revealing the stigma around mental health in this area. Across its chapters, the book usefully describes the fundamental theoretical approaches, and differences therein, of psychotherapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists, to clarify the unique skills required when working in teenage and young adult psych-oncology. This includes a vivid survey of the challenges facing adolescents with cancer, exploration of the therapeutic relationship with young people who know they are dying, understanding trauma and the ‘late effects’ of childhood cancer, as well as the ways in which practitioners can support patients and their families to sustain hope in the midst of despair.’

    Dorothy Judd, child and adolescent psychotherapist and adult psychotherapist

    ‘This is an excellent and thought-provoking book which should be read widely by those interacting with adolescents and young adults with experience of cancer. Each chapter provides a holistic review of a particular area of psych-oncology which, using considered and diverse vignettes, professional reflections and evidenced based practice, brings to life the reality of adolescent and young adult cancer care. Clearly laid out and accessible this is a valuable first in addressing the important relationships between mind and body in the context of a key life stage with compassion and practicality.’

    Louise Soanes, chief nurse, Teenage Cancer Trust