Young adults and teens with cancer get some much-needed attention

March 27, 2012 | by City of Hope Staff

City of Hope offers free education sessions for a group of patients who were once in the shadows: adolescents and young adults with cancer.

Photo of Seth Rogen, left, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt from the movie 50/50 Seth Rogen, left, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt from the movie "50/50."

Staff members at the medical center are offering a six-week program created by the Cancer Support Community and funded by the Lance Armstrong Foundation called Cancer Transitions. The educational series is free and designed specifically for adolescents and young adults with cancer, often known as “AYAs” for short.

Attendees learn about nutrition and emotional and social issues, as well as managing the disease and its effects during treatment and afterward. They also get to know others who are going through similar issues.

Experts are increasingly recognizing that the cancer experience is different for AYAs — people between their late teens and late 30s — than it is for adults or children. The first scientific journal focused on cancers in this group published its premier issue in 2011, the same year AYAs made it to the big screen through the movie "50/50."

Researchers also are starting to learn that some cancers may behave differently in this group than previously thought.

At City of Hope, physicians and supportive care staff are partnering on new AYA-specific programs such as Cancer Transitions. Participants between ages 18 and 39 are eligible for the program; they may be up to two years out of treatment, and they must get approval by their physician to participate.

The current session is offered Tuesday evenings through April 10, and future sessions are planned.


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