graphic showing Transition of Care for pediatric cancer patients

Planning and preparing for this change should begin at least 2 to 4 years before moving to an adult health care provider. For children and adolescents, parents/caregivers make most health care decisions. An adult health care model allows young adults to make their own health care decisions. At 18 years of age, most young adults in our program will move to an adult health care provider. Prior to this transition, we will provide our patients and their parents/caregivers with support and guidance to help prepare for this important change.

Some young adults have conditions that limit them from making health care decisions on their own. For these patients our team will provide parents/caregivers with options for how to support their children’s decision-making. Young adults who are unable to consent for their own health care or make their own decisions will need a legal document describing their decision-making limits and who can give consent on their behalf.

Our Division’s aim is to prepare each young adult to successfully transition to an adult health care provider. During this time, we will:

  • Help identify the right adult health care providers.
  • Transfer medical records to these providers.
  • Educate these providers about the patient’s condition and health care needs.

One of our genetics providers will meet with the patient and legal guardian before the patient’s transition. The provider will review the patient’s cancer predisposition condition and discuss recurrence risks. This can inform decisions about having children in the future. We will also work with patients to find community and financial resources, and adult health care providers.

In our transition approach, we emphasize protecting patient privacy, promoting self-advocacy, and fostering trust. We do this whether the patient is being cared for at St. Jude or other institutions.


The following are a list of resources and websites available to help you and your family during the transition process.

Resources at St. Jude

Contact us

We care about the health and independence of our patients. As always, we are here to help if you have questions or concerns. Please feel free to contact us at 901-595-0335.