Explore the Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Program


Adolescent and young adult (AYA) patients with cancer face unique challenges and have specific needs. Historically, oncology care has been divided between pediatric and older adult patients, creating additional challenges for AYAs as they navigate their cancer care while also balancing mental health, financial wellbeing, educational and career development goals, fertility, and social connection.

The AYA program at Mass General Cancer Center was established to directly address the unique needs of our AYA population. We are developing clinical and psychosocial frameworks and creating social opportunities to improve the quality of life and outcomes for our patients.

Our Mission

Our mission is to empower AYAs throughout their cancer care by fostering a community of patients, caregivers, providers, and advocates. The AYA program was established to provide an integrated model of care to address the multifaceted concerns of our patients.

  • Our AYA patients are the foundation of this program.
  • Our AYA patients drive the program’s ongoing engagement in research and educational initiatives to identify best clinical care practices.
  • Our AYA patients are instrumental in guiding the development of our psychosocial supports and social engagement opportunities.

Through this collaborative and dynamic effort, the AYA program aims to eliminate disparities in cancer care and outcomes of AYAs impacted by cancer.

Our Multidisciplinary Care Model

Our clinical care program is designed to provide a multidisciplinary approach to the care our AYA patients receive. The team includes medical, surgical and radiation oncologists, as well as nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, social workers, psychiatrists and psychologists with experience caring for AYA patients. Our team provides resources and supports for fertility and sexual health, emotional wellbeing, education, physical health and rehabilitation, nutrition, social support, and spirituality.

Support Services

AYA program graphic

The AYA program provides patients with access to many support services at Mass General, including but not limited to:


Who are adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer patients?

AYA cancer patients are individuals between the ages of 15 and 39 who have received a cancer diagnosis.

What are the unique needs for AYA cancer patients?

AYAs receive a cancer diagnosis during a time of significant physical, emotional, and social development. Cancer and cancer treatment can disrupt critical developmental milestones leading to unique concerns. This may mean that AYA patients require support that is different from what is offered to patients at other life stages. Emotional and physical well-being, education, fertility planning, sexual health, and social engagement are some of the top concerns expressed by our AYA patients.

What services are available for AYA patients at Mass General?

We are committed to creating a space where patients feel comfortable discussing any of their concerns with their care team. As part of this effort, we have identified providers with AYA expertise throughout the Mass General Cancer Center. Patients can access supportive care resources including social work, psychology, psychiatry, sexual health and fertility, lifestyle medicine, integrative therapies, and parenting guidance.

Our dedicated AYA clinicians and program manager are available to connect you to these resources and answer any questions that you may have over the continuum of your care.

Connect with us at ayacancer@mgh.harvard.edu.

Where else can I find information on AYA cancer care?

There are several resources and organizations that address the core issues that many AYA patients experience. The following list highlights a few of the resources that are available.


Patient Stories


AYA Clinical Champions

Shannon MacDonald

Shannon MacDonald, MD
Radiation Oncologist



Stephanie Mancini

Stephanie Mancini, DNP
Nurse Practitioner, Radiation Oncology



Alisa Perry

Alisa Perry, MSN, PNP-BC
Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Radiation Oncology and Pediatric Hematology/Oncology



Samantha Vincent

Samantha Vincent, CPNP
Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology



AYA Sarcoma Support Group

This virtual group is open to sarcoma patients in active treatment or who completed treatment less than 1 year prior between the ages of 18-39 and meets the first Thursday of every month from 3:00-4:30 pm via Zoom. The group is facilitated by sarcoma social worker Jackie Cardarelli-Matte and nurse practitioner Christina Kim. View the support group flyer.

Register here

AYA Music Hang

Join us for the Mass General Cancer Center AYA Music Hang, every Tuesday in June from 5:30-6:30 pm. Each week we will explore different ways that music can be a support during cancer treatment, survivorship, adulting, and life-ing! All groups will offer folks the opportunity to share and listen to music related to the topic of week: Music for ease, for get up & go, for reals & feels and for total distraction. The group will be held over Zoom. Only thing needed is a love of music and an interest in connection. AYA Music Hang is open to Mass General cancer patients/survivors ages *18-39.

To register or for questions, email Lorrie Kubicek, MT-BC, Music Therapist, at lkubicek1@mgb.org.

Life After Cancer

Our virtual stress management and resilience training (SMART) program is open to young adults between the ages of 18-39 who have completed treatment for cancer or are living with cancer. The focus of this program is to teach stress management and resilience skills to help manage the social, emotional, and physical health challenges of life after treatment. This program helps connect AYAs across the Mass General Cancer Center while providing a supportive environment to learn and apply learned strategies. For more information, please reach out to mghsurvivorship@partners.org. View program flyer (pdf).

Register here (select SMART for young adult survivors)

Young Adult Brain Tumor Support Group

This virtual group is open to patients between the ages of 18-40 who have a brain tumor. Find support from other young adults. For more information, please reach out to the group leader.
Contact: Sandra McLaughlin, Oncology Social Worker, 617-643-2355

Clinical Trials

Researchers at the Mass General Cancer Center are conducting a study to learn about the experiences of young adults with cancer and their partners. View study flyer (pdf).