Adolescent & Young Adult Oncology Program (AYA)

Adolescent & Young Adult  Oncology Program (AYA)

In Canada alone, 7,000 young people each year hear three shocking words: You have cancer. This comes at a time when they should be focusing on the demands of school, establishing their careers, and perhaps raising young families. Instead, they are forced to deal with the profound impact of a cancer diagnosis. Because of this and our commitment to being a national and international leader in cancer care, developing a program dedicated to AYA is a high priority at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.

As one of the most advanced AYA programs in the country, we have created a broad and fully integrated program that addresses the specialized needs of AYA patients in both medical and psychosocial care. AYA care can be seen in all teams and in all tumour site groups within the cancer centre through the development of AYA-specific distress screening tools, AYA-specific education events, support groups and educational material for patients and families. We also dedicate our time and resources to developing guidelines, information packages, conference presentations, research papers and partnerships with other cancer centers in order to share our findings and support AYA around the world. With limited resources yet abundant creativity and determination, we have developed a model that is scalable and replicable for other global cancer centres and we want to continue this exciting work.