The Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Cancer Program was created to optimize the care, outcomes, and experiences of adolescent and young adult patients (ages 15-39) with cancer through integrated care delivery, research, and education.
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 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.
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.
This virtual group is open to sarcoma patients 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 and nurse practitioner Christina Kim. View the support group flyer.
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
Months after college graduation, Mass General employee Erin Morrissey was diagnosed with a rare form of adrenal cancer. Taking to social media to share her journey and inspire others, Erin emphasizes the importance of being your own health advocate, leaning into research, and seeking support.
Cancer treatment can affect your fertility. Mary Morris, MD, PhD provides an overview of the reproductive system, how cancer therapies can impact future fertility, and ways to potentially preserve your ability to have children.
Contact the Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Program
Our dedicated AYA clinicians and program manager are available to connect you to our resources and answer any questions that you may have over the continuum of your care.