NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer, Version 1.2017
Navigating the treatment process
How do I stay on track with my treatment plan? | Review
How do I stay on track with my
Research has shown that treatment can give AYAs
with cancer a good chance of living for a very long
time. But getting there means sticking with the
treatment plan—a task that many AYAs find difficult.
Many AYAs can stray from their treatment plan at one
time or another—whether it’s not taking medicine as
prescribed, not showing up for treatment, or taking
recreational drugs that can harm treatment effects.
Cancer treatment can be tough. But there are things
you can do to make it easier to stick with your plan.
Take all of your medicine as prescribed.
That means taking it in the right amounts, at
the right time. Skipping or delaying doses may
change the drug’s effects. If you’re having
trouble paying for your medicine, ask your
treatment team for help. They may be able
to refer you for financial aid or tell you about
special drug company programs that help
people who cannot afford cancer treatment.
Talk to your treatment team.
If you’re having
trouble coping with the treatment plan, let
them know. They can give you a hand with
getting psychological, financial, and practical
help for sticking with treatment while living
Stick with your appointments.
your team will try to be flexible when timing
your appointments, most cancer facilities have
tight or full schedules. If you miss a scheduled
appointment, it may not be possible to get
a new one right away—which could delay
treatment by days or longer.
Your treatment team can’t help
you if they don’t know what’s going on.
• Most patients go through several rounds of
treatment to make sure the cancer is either gone
or under control.
• Supportive care (also known as palliative care) is
any treatment that relieves your symptoms and
improves your quality of life.
• When treatment leads to remission (or no
evidence of disease) you are now moving into
• Recurrence or relapse refers to cancer that
shows up after the cancer has been in remission.
• Progression is when the cancer spreads or gets
worse with no period of remission in between.
• Most cancer experts suggest completing an
advance directive, to plan for end-of-life care,
sooner rather than later.
• A treatment plan is a written course of action that
covers every stage of the treatment process, from
the first treatment onward.