Adolescent and Young Adults (AYAs) range in age from 15-39. They face cancers that are less common in adults & children, which leaves them stranded between two medical systems - neither of which adequately address their psychosocial needs.
The Numbers Are Growing...
- In the U.S., over 16,000 children under the age of 21 are diagnosed with cancer every year.
- According to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 285 children in the U.S. will be diagnosed before the age of 20.
- There are approximately 388,000 survivors of childhood and adolescent cancer. Two-thirds will need continued treatment for a chronic condition.
- Of the 14M cancer survivors in the United States, one in 5 is under 40.
One in 100 US college students is a cancer survivor.
- 10,000 young adults die annually due to cancer.
Adolescents and Young Adults Are Different.
- Young adults get entirely different cancers than other age groups.
- The reasons why young adults get cancer are often very different than those of other age groups.
- Clinical trial participation in young adults is lower than other age groups.
- There is currently no "young adult cancer clinical research."
- Funding traditional cancer research will most likely not help a young adult with cancer.
- Adolescent survivors have difficulties readjusting to school and social settings, experience anxiety, and in some cases ongoing learning difficulties due to the side effects of treatment. They especially struggle with: Body Image & Changes; Anxiety; Isolation; Interruption of School Curriculum; Loss of a Social Life; and sometimes, Infertility.
- Social isolation is the number one issue faced by young adults with cancer.
- Quality of life for these patients is as important as the quality of care.
- Research has shown that interventions that include adolescent programs reduce anxiety teens and families experience in a medical setting. Lower anxiety levels help shorten hospital stays and improve the overall experience.
Time in the hospital means time away from school, friends, and the life they knew. It becomes critical for these teens, who are facing the battle of their lives, to maintain a sense of connection to their family, friends, and lifestyle in order to battle their treatments with a solid frame of mind, courage, and determination.
Our Message to the Young Person with Cancer:
Whatever you’re going through right now, you're not alone. Support is always available, whether you have cancer, you’re worried about cancer or someone you know has been given a cancer diagnosis.
Get the right advice.
When your health is on your mind, get personalized advice from an expert, and try not to keep it to yourself.
Saying cancer out loud for the first time makes everything seem more real. Talking to friends and family can really help. If others get upset – it’s just that they care about you, and don’t know what to do for you.
Teen Cancer Awareness Week
In 2013, ARVF spearheaded the initiative getting the U.S. Senate to unanimously pass resolution S. Res.#573 designating the third week in January as Teen Cancer Awareness Week (TCAW) to promote awareness of the unique medical and social needs of teens with cancer.