Jun 08, 2015 10:00 AM

Author: Cancer Learning Center

Patients diagnosed with cancer between the ages of 15-39 sometimes enter a “no-man’s-land” of cancer care. These adolescent and young adult (AYA) patients may not fit the usual profiles for either pediatric or adult oncology, as they have a unique set of emotional, physical, and practical needs.

For AYAs, cancer can interrupt education, work, marriage, and parenthood. Also, more young adults in their twenties are uninsured than older adults, so access to timely diagnosis and follow-up care can be challenging. AYAs with cancer require age-tailored supportive care to address their unique needs and link them with appropriate clinical trials.

The Huntsman Intermountain-Adolescent and Young Adult (HI-AYA) oncology program is a new initiative to support AYAs undergoing cancer treatment in Utah. The first of its kind in the Intermountain West, this program aims to improve AYAs’ receipt of timely care with the best treatment, survivorship, fertility, and supportive services such as financial counseling. Through cross-institutional collaborations, the HI-AYA oncology program links resources and key experts from Huntsman Cancer Institute, Intermountain Healthcare, Primary Children’s Hospital, and community oncology providers to ensure all AYAs with cancer in Utah have the immediate and long-term support necessary to meet their unique needs. Patient navigators will coordinate clinical care from diagnosis through treatment and address survivorship issues as well, connecting AYA cancer patients with services throughout Utah.

The HI-AYA oncology program is led by Lor Randall, MD, director of Sarcoma Services at Primary Children’s Hospital and Huntsman Cancer Institute. Anne Kirchhoff and her team recently received funding from the Utah Department of Health’s Department of Cancer Control to evaluate oncology needs for AYAs with cancer in Utah. Through this program, the team hopes to transform the care, treatment, and long-term well-being of AYAs with cancer.

For more information about this program, contact Anne Kirchhoff at anne.kirchhoff@hci.utah.edu.

Cancer Learning Center

Huntsman Cancer Institute

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