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Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Resources

National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Guidelines define an adolescent and young adult (AYA) oncology patient as an individual between 15 and 39 years of age at the time of initial diagnosis. These guidelines state that AYAs develop different cancers than other age groups; this patient population also has unique needs around treatment and survivorship.

According to NCCN more than 700,000 AYAs are diagnosed with cancer annually in the U.S., accounting for 5 out of 100 new cancer diagnoses and 2 out of 100 cancer deaths.

The American Cancer Society calls attention to issues that can uniquely affect young adults with cancer including:

  • Delays in diagnosis
  • Communication challenges with providers unaccustomed to treating patients in this age range
  • Financial issues, including lack of or limited insurance coverage
  • Social and emotional concerns specific to adolescents and young adults
Several recent studies report a continued increase in diagnosis of colorectal cancer in individuals younger than age 50 in the U.S., and that younger adults are being diagnosed with more advanced disease.1-3

A recent observational study by Sung and colleagues found increased risk of obesity-linked cancer in the younger adult population. Researchers found that individuals born around 1985 had a 2 to 5 times increased risk for kidney, gallbladder, pancreatic, and endometrial cancers—almost double the risk for colorectal cancer and about 1.5 times the risk for multiple myeloma--compared to those born around 1950.


1. Virostko J, Capasso A, Jankeelov TE, Goodgame B. Recent trends in the age at diagnosis of colorectal cancer in the US National Cancer Data Base, 2004-2015. Cancer. 2019;125(21):3828-3835.
2. Siegel RL, Miller KD, Fedewa SA, et al. Colorectal cancer statistics, 2017. CA Cancer J Clin. 2017;67:177-193.
3. American Cancer Society: Key statistics for colorectal cancer. Available at 
4. Sung H, Siegel RL, Rosenberg PS, Ahmedin J. Emerging cancer trends among young adults in the USA: analysis of a population-based cancer registry. Lancet Pub Health. 2019;4(3):PE137-E147.

Explore resources from ACCC to help cancer care providers better serve the unique needs of AYA patients with cancer: 


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