Adolescents and Young Adults with cancer

Adolescents and Young Adults (AYA) with cancer are a distinct and at-risk group. Aged 15-29 years old, AYA patients differ from both younger and older cancer populations with respect to their spectrum of diseases, the biology of their cancers, developmental status and unique psychosocial needs.

In British Columbia, there are 350 new AYA cases each year, accounting for 1.5% of all cancer diagnoses. The most common cancers seen in this age group include lymphoma, thyroid, testis and cancer of the central nervous system. With 85% of patients surviving the disease, 3,000 AYA patients diagnosed from 1970-2010 are still alive today.

Help us bring crucial support to a unique group

Despite this high survival rate, cancer remains the most common cause of disease-related deaths in this age group and AYA patients face many unique challenges:

  • They more often experience delays in diagnosis;
  • Have lower access to and participation in clinical trials;
  • The unique biological characteristics of their cancers are often not understood;
  • AYA patients face a much higher degree of psychosocial distress related to changes in physical appearance, disruptions of work and school, increased dependence on parents, financial challenges and loss of reproductive capacity.

Philanthropic support will enable BC Cancer to take its place as a world leader in AYA cancer care by recruiting two specialists—a patient & family counsellor and advanced practice nurse—to launch an urgently needed AYA Oncology Program. The aim of this program will be to:

  • Conduct research and develop customized services for AYA patients undergoing cancer treatment;
  • Develop a proven education strategy for health care providers;
  • Provide education materials, tools and guidelines for families; and
  • Establish a patient engagement and advisory network.

With your support, BC CAN transform cancer care for Adolescents and Young Adults

Improving the lives of AYA patients diagnosed with cancer in our province requires a collaborative, innovative approach to care led by a skilled team of specially-trained professionals.

The BC AYA Oncology Program, a partnership between BC Cancer and BC Children’s Hospital, is committed to addressing the unique needs of AYA patients in British Columbia, so that these patients don’t just survive, but thrive.

Excellent resources exist within our province to make this vital program a success. With your generous support, B.C.’s AYA population can look forward to a brighter, cancer-free future.

Under the leadership of the patient & family counsellor and advanced practice nurse, the BC AYA Oncology Program will ultimately improve outcomes for the AYA population with:

  • Increase collaboration between regional oncology centres and BC Children’s Hospital;
  • Improve access to counselling and services;
  • Establish a core provincial team of AYA specialist providers;
  • Increase awareness and education of mental and physical AYA-specific needs for all health care providers;
  • Engage AYA in their treatment, care and oncology program;
  • Harness technology to engage and build a connected community;
  • Enhance supportive care and resources.

To learn more, and to donate today, please contact:

Fatima Hassam
Associate Vice President, Development