Doctor in Psychology (Psy. D.)
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that impacts both social interaction and patterns of behavior. ASD is rooted in genetic, biological, and environmental causes. Cancer begins when cells grow out of control and there is also a genetic and biological cause of cancer. There is an overlap between the genetic and biological causes of ASD and cancer. As a result, evidence supports an increased risk of developing some types of cancer as well as protective factors for some times of cancer for individuals with ASD. Therefore, individuals with ASD may be at a heightened risk to develop cancer, but ASD specialists are not often well versed in the procedures that occur when treating cancer. Further, professionals treating cancer may not be familiar with the symptoms and challenges that may be present when treating someone on the autism spectrum. The possibility for a patient to develop trauma symptoms related to experiences with cancer and cancer treatment and the unique characteristics of treating someone with ASD, trauma, and cancer is explored. In addition, caregivers are not often prepared for a comorbid cancer diagnosis that may accompany ASD. Obtaining this kind of specialized knowledge could be significantly beneficial when supporting an individual with ASD through a cancer diagnosis and treatment. As a result, the present product aims to provide evidence based supportive knowledge to caregivers, psychologists, medical health professionals, and other personnel who may be actively working with an individual who has autism and cancer or who is interested in gaining more knowledge about the relationship between autism and cancer.
Myra Beth Bundy, PhD, BCBA
Michael McClellan, PhD
Dustin Wygant, PhD
2021 Kaylee R. James
James, Kaylee, "A Literature Resource for Those Supporting Patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Cancer" (2022). Psychology Doctoral Specialization Projects. 18.
Child Psychology Commons, Clinical Psychology Commons, Developmental Psychology Commons, Oncology Commons, Trauma Commons