In Belgium, over 1,800 adolescents and young adults (AYAs) aged 15–39 are diagnosed annually with cancer. Of all yearly new cancer diagnoses in Belgium, AYA cancers are rare because they are rare in absolute numbers, or because they are rare examples of common cancers occurring outside of the usual age range. Leukaemia and lymphoma’s represent the most common AYA haematological cancers among the AYA population. Apart from the treatment(s) of cancer, the specific needs of young people with haematological malignancies are defined as much, or more, by their age and developmental stage as their life-threatening disease. In June 2018, an AYA interest group under the guidance of “Kom op tegen Kanker” published a blueprint for age-specific care for young people with cancer to highlight the current and future needs of AYA specific cancer care. Current healthcare professional education, training programs and healthcare settings do not address AYA-specific issues. Cure and care is currently exclusively approached from paediatric or adult care perspective. This compartmentalised approach to cancer care can result in a blind spot for AYA comprehensive age developmental cancer care for youngsters and their caregivers. Between the current paediatric and adult silos of care, there is an unmet need for comprehensive AYA cancer care. This care should focus on specific topics to support young people with haematological cancer during treatment, into survivorship care or with early integration of palliative care, providing comprehensive support for AYA patient with limited-life expectations.
(BELG J HEMATOL 2020;11(7):275-81)