Memorial Sloan Kettering Launches Teen and Young Adult Program and Opens The Lounge in Collaboration with Teen Cancer America and Who Cares


Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) today announced the launch of its new Teen and Young Adult (TYA) Program, TYA  @  MSK, which will offer special services to MSK’s TYA population. In tandem, MSK officially opened The Lounge, a space designed especially for this unique age group that was made possible by a $1 million donation from Teen Cancer America. The nonprofit organization, co-founded by Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend of The Who, partners with hospitals throughout the United States to develop specialized facilities for teens and young adults with cancer.

Cancer is not uncommon among teenagers and young adults. At any given time, close to 700 patients ages 16 through 28 are in active treatment at MSK. To meet the unique needs of this population, a task force of oncologists, nurses, administrators, social workers, psychiatrists and others was formed to develop a program that would reach patients across all MSK sites. The responses from patient focus groups and surveys conducted with teenage and young adult MSK patients helped to prioritize the key elements of this initiative.  

TYA  @  MSK is designed to bring this patient community together through an expansive support system with opportunities to connect.  The program consists of:

  • The Lounge, an 800-square-foot space outfitted with the latest technology, comfortable furniture, communal work space, and a snack bar. It will offer advanced art projects, movie nights, video-game tournaments, board games, books and resources, a dry erase graffiti wall, and a slew of other activities for patients and their guests.  
  • Peer-2-Peer, a support program that connects TYA patients with others who have completed treatment and can share his or her knowledge about navigating MSK and being a young person with cancer.
  • The App, a safe and protected mobile application platform through which TYA patients can ask questions, meet other patients and survivors, find resources, and receive information about programming and events. It will be launched in fall 2016.

“By providing multiple ways for the teen and young adult patient to find a peer, to ask a question otherwise unanswered, to leave their hospital room and feel comfortable in a space designed with them in mind, TYA  @  MSK will make a significant impact in the overall patient experience,” said Nina J. Pickett, Administrator of the Department of Pediatrics. “Our program brings focus to the unique interests and needs of the TYA population and, along with MSK’s excellent clinical care, promotes independence and well-being.”

Teen Cancer America Collaboration

Teen Cancer America is designed to help hospitals and healthcare professionals bridge the gap between pediatric and adult oncology care. After over a decade working with Teenage Cancer Trust in England, Mr. Daltrey and Mr. Townshend brought their passion to the United States and developed Teen Cancer America.

The Who, through Who Cares, raised $1 million for MSK to create The Lounge so MSK’s teen and young adult patients could be in a comfortable and safe environment during their treatment.

“As if the challenges of adolescence and early adulthood aren’t hard enough, a cancer diagnosis is enough to turn any young person’s already turbulent world upside down,” says Dr. Richard J. O’Reilly, Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at MSK. “That’s what makes our collaboration with Teen Cancer America so important. It has allowed us to create this unique space, where teens and young adults who are being treated at any MSK site can temporarily distance themselves from medical issues and focus on being themselves.”