At the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital, we understand teens and young adults have unique personal, emotional and medical challenges when facing a cancer diagnosis. Through our Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Oncology Program, our goal is enable these patients to take an active role in their care and feel engaged during every step of their health care journey.

Why a Special Program for Adolescents & Young Adults?

Teens and young adults facing a cancer diagnosis have unique medical, emotional and psychosocial needs. Like their peers, they are concerned about their social life, dating, school and their future. We help them manage the cancer journey while still moving forward in their lives.

What is Different About Cancer Treatment for this Age Group?

A landmark 2008 study by UChicago Medicine researchers found that survival rates of young adults, ages 16 to 20, with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) were significantly higher with a pediatric treatment regimen, which is more intensive than the approach used for adults with ALL. This research led to changes in cancer treatment for AYA patients across the U.S. The unique biology of these cancers allows treating physicians to tailor therapy as much as possible for specific patients.

How Else Does the AYA Program Support Young People with Cancer?

We assist them in navigating the health care system and in providing them the autonomy to take an active role in their care. We partner with psychologists, social workers, and an AYA program coordinator to ensure patients have access to the support networks they need to navigate their cancer treatment at such a formative time. Most young cancer survivors require lifelong monitoring for long-term effects of treatment, so it’s important for patients to be actively involved in their care from the beginning.