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Teen and Young Adult Cancer Patients Have Different Needs

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Young adulthood, the time in life between the ages of 15 -39, is often filled with both exciting possibilities and difficult challenges. People at this stage of life may be attending school, working hard at their jobs, dating or in a relationship, or planning for or raising children. A cancer diagnosis can wreak havoc with these plans and goals. Unfortunately, cancer is the number one cause of disease-related deaths in this age group.

The medical community is beginning to recognize that people with cancer in this age group have needs that are different than those of younger children and older adults. In addition, researchers are finding that the biology of many of the cancers in people of this age group is different. Increasing data indicates that adult patients with some cancers would benefit by being treated on what are traditionally pediatric therapies. For example, people up to the age of 40 with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) have better outcomes when treating by treating with therapies designed for adolescent patients.

We also realize that receiving a diagnosis and treatment of cancer can have affects on your physical and psychological health long after therapy is completed. Most national cancer organizations recommend following in a cancer survivorship program at least once a year. We have integrated survivorship into Ochsner's Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Cancer and Survivor program to address the medical and psychosocial needs of young adult cancer survivors.

Recognizing these special needs of this age group has led to innovative programs, including  Ochsner’s  AYA cancer and survivor program. The foundation of the program is a holistic approach and consists of particular specialists. Our team of professionals includes:

  • Pediatric and adult oncologists
  • Physicians with expertise in male and female fertility and sexual health
  • Adult and pediatric oncology nurses
  • Dieticians
  • Psychologists
  • Social workers
  • Exercise counselors
  • Genetic counseling
  • Comfort/palliative care

The goal is to not only help patients to beat cancer, but also to minimize the disruption of their daily lives. That’s also why all cancer patients, regardless of age, should have the support and resources to cope with survivorship long after their treatment ends.

Ochsner has assembled one of the most comprehensive Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer and Survivorship programs in the United States. For more information , call 504-842-2935.

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