Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Sclinda Janssen

Second Advisor

Wanda Lauer


Title: Sex, Drugs, & Rockin’ Referrals: An Interprofessional Guide for Young Adults with Cancer

Introduction According to the National Cancer Institute (2020), about 89,000 adolescents and young adults (AYAs) ages 15-39 are diagnosed with cancer each year, accounting for about five percent of all cancer diagnoses in the United States. It is common for AYAs to be diagnosed with pediatric cancers yet receive treatment in a setting that is dedicated either children or older adults. Due to unique developmental milestones that occur during adolescence and young adulthood, the models of care for pediatric or older adult patients do not meet the needs for this age group, therefore creating what is known as the AYA oncology gap. Cancer treatment methods have many side effects that impact nearly all occupations of everyday life, including social participation, eating, sleep and rest, health management, and sexual activity. A total of 56-75% of AYAs with cancer who could benefit from occupational therapy do not receive services (Kelly, 2020). This scholarly project addresses the occupation of health promotion in AYAs with cancer through interprofessional collaboration.

Methodology The results of a literature review indicated there is a need to provide interprofessional support services to adolescents/young patients with cancer to increase the quality of life, promote holistic, and patient-centered care. Additionally, healthcare providers are not consistently initiating conversations about how cancer treatment methods and procedures can affect sexual health with patients. Two models were used throughout the development of this scholarly project. The Ecology of Human Performance Model [EHP] (Dunn et al., 1994; Dunn, 2017) was used throughout this scholarly project to analyze the interprofessional team. The Recognition Model (Couldrick, Sadlo, & Cross, 2010) was used within the product to assist healthcare providers to initiate conversations about sexual health.

Results The literature review combined with the theoretical models led to the development of an interprofessional referral guide to focused on health promotion and sexual health for young adults with cancer.

Conclusion It is anticipated that the interprofessional referral guide will be used to enhance health promotion for AYAs by increasing interprofessional collaboration, narrowing the AYA oncology gap by providing referrals, and promoting consistency when addressing sexual health with young adults with cancer.