Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Oncology Program

Providing Individualized Care for Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Patients. 

Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Oncology Program

Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Oncology refers to individuals who have been diagnosed with malignancy between the ages of 15 and 39.  AYA patients are a unique population, with their own unique diagnoses, complications, morbidities, and psychosocial concerns distinct from their peers and cancer patients in other age groups.  In addition, many of these individuals are going through the process of finding their identity and developing independence, making it a particularly difficult time to negotiate a life-threatening diagnosis.

The Nationwide Children's Hospital AYA program aims to provide up to date medical care as well as comprehensive social and emotional support for these patients.  In addition, we offer access to our Fertility Preservation and Reproductive Health Program as well as education support and insurance counseling.  Perhaps most importantly, Nationwide Children's Hospital offers active peer support options for AYA patients, allowing them to meet with other individuals who have had similar experiences.  We offer both one on one and group peer support, with quarterly events that allow AYA patients to come together outside of the hospital, providing the opportunity to build relationships and provide social support for each other in a way that can be difficult to establish in a hospital setting.

Our Mission 

We realize that adolescents and young adults with cancer have unique needs and face challenges not encountered by other groups. It is our goal to ensure that patients between the ages of 15 and 39 receive the best available individualized care, by providing state of the art treatment options with a comprehensive team approach that addresses the physical, psychological, social and emotional needs of adolescents and young adults along the journey from diagnosis, treatment, survivorship and remission.

Why should young adults go to a children’s hospital?

Nationwide Children’s Hospital is part of Children’s Oncology Group, which is a consortium of over 200 Children’s hospitals from around the world. This gives AYA patients the opportunity to be part of a clinical trial directed toward fighting their cancer whenever possible.

Studies have shown that for certain types of cancer, adolescents and young adults have better outcomes when treated on pediatric-inspired protocols. At Nationwide Children’s, we have experts in many of the common cancers that are seen in the AYA population.

AYA Care: A Team Approach

We have an entire team including, physicians, surgeons, nurses, psychology and social work experts dedicated to providing expertise and care for common cancers in the adolescent and young adult population including sarcomas, leukemias, lymphomas, and central nervous system tumors. Our team works within a larger team to ensure each patient's care plan has a multidisciplinary approach to ensure the optimal outcome. Meet our AYA team.

  • Experts in cancers common in the adolescent and young adult population including sarcomas, leukemias, lymphomas, central nervous system tumors, and thryoid cancer
  • Collaborative treatment with physicians who possess expertise in the latest cancer surgeries; including general surgeonsorthopedic surgeonsneurosurgeons, and ENT surgeons
  • Available consultation with adult medical specialists when indicated
  • Dedicated social work support with knowledge in issues pertinent to AYA patients
  • An active psychology program with a focus on issues faced by AYA patients receiving cancer therapy
  • A school liaison program that partners with AYA patients and their high schools and colleges to help maintain their academic endeavors while receiving treatment and into survivorship
  • Affiliation with counselors and physicians with proficiency in fertility preservation to assist AYA patients with their fertility options
  • A nursing staff with training and expertise in issues and challenges faced by AYA patients receiving treatment and into survivorship
  • Access to cooperative clinical trials for common cancers encountered in the AYA population
  • Disease specific patient navigation to facilitate comprehensive care for the AYA individual with cancer

Meet Our Team

Support Resources

  • Dedicated social work support with knowledge in issues pertinent to AYA patients
  • An active psychology program with a focus on issues faced by AYA patients receiving cancer therapy
  • A school liaisons program that works with high schools and colleges to help AYA patients maintain their academic endeavors when receiving treatment

Fertility Information

Being diagnosed with cancer can be the most overwhelming and stressful time in your life, causing you not to think about things such as fertility issues. We will provide you with information about risk of infertility and possible interventions to maintain reproductive potential because we understand that this is critical for the AYA population at the time of diagnosis. Learn more about our Fertility and Reproductive Health Program.

Social Aspect

Our AYA program provides quarterly social events that are designed to provide a peer support network in a relaxed environment with an additional focus on education and psychosocial topics important for AYA patients and their families. Events include movies, outdoor activities, sporting events, and speakers who provide education on a variety of topics, including fertility, education and insurance issues.

AYA Bill of Rights

We are neither pediatrics nor geriatrics, we have unique needs- medically, socially, and economically. However, the rights and dignity of adolescent and young adults are equal and vital to all individuals. We deserve to have our beliefs, privacy, and personal values respected. Access to care is a right, not a privilege. Learn more about the AYA Bill of Rights.

AYA Support Services