Childhood Cancer

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Exploring the impact of a teen weekend on the quality of life of the adolescent with cancer: A qualitative, case/control study.

The Children’s Mercy Hospital
Kristin Stegenga, PhD, RN
Grant Type: 
Nurse Researcher Grants
Year Awarded: 
Type of Childhood Cancer: 
General Pediatric Cancer
Project Description: 

“ALSF helped me launch my research career in addition to providing funding to allow me to begin to explore these important questions regarding optimal support for adolescents with cancer. I look forward to continuing to build on the foundation that ALSF provided me.”

Project Goal

This study explored the impact of an intervention, a retreat weekend, on the quality of life of adolescents with cancer.

Having the opportunity to spend time with other adolescents with cancer is really important- it gives these teens a peer group that truly understands what they have been through.


The teen weekend provided a safe opportunity for adolescents to get away. Parents were comfortable because staff from their treating institution were present but the teens were able to get away and spend time with others who had similar experiences. The teens expressed the desire to have more opportunities to interact with one another socially. Participants in the control group had, in some cases, simply not had the opportunity to participate in the teen weekend and in other cases, did not seek that kind of social support. These teens explained that they were not likely to participate in an activity like this in their “regular” life either. They were more likely to have one-on-one interactions and would characterize themselves as more solitary, enjoying their own company or the company of a select few friends.

Next Steps

We are still developing an AYA program however, we have taken Teenapalooza and per our participants requests, made it a more frequent event. We meet 4-5 times per year but not overnight. Participants love it and are having a great time-now they say they might like even more opportunities to meet but we are getting ready to open a teen room on our unit which is another opportunity for them to socialize!