Adolescents with Terminal Cancer: Making Good Use of Illusions

Carlo Alfredo Clerici, Elena Pagani Bagliacca, Laura Veneroni, Marta Podda, Matteo Silva, Patrizia Gasparini, Roberto Luksch, Monica Terenziani, Michela Casanova, Filippo Spreafico, Cristina Meazza, Veronica Biassoni, Elisabetta Schiavello, Stefano Chiaravalli, Tullio Proserpio, Maura Massimino, Andrea Ferrari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The terminal stage of disease in teenagers is extremely complex to manage. In this study, we share some stories of terminally ill adolescent patients who made use of illusion as a way to overcome their anguish in their final stages of illness. These experiences show how young patients can cope better with terminal illness by resorting to a nonrational and fictional dimension that can serve them as a psychological compromise, helping them tolerate their real everyday life by suspending their critical senses for a while. Illusions can serve as a resource for young patients and a potentially useful tool for medical professionals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)683-686
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020


  • illusion
  • psychological support
  • suspension of disbelief
  • terminal ill

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Oncology


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