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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

treatment plan?

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

your life.


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.


Be honest.

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

follow-up care.

• 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.