Empowering Adolescents and Young Adults: The AYA at MSK Program

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Nurse practitioner Emily Sarro helps coordinate care for patients in MSK’s Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA at MSK) program.

Nurse practitioner Emily Sarro helps coordinate care for patients in MSK’s Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA at MSK) program.

Cancer is tough, no matter the age. But adolescents and young adults with cancer face a whole host of unique challenges, including delayed diagnoses. For years, MSK has worked to close the gap between pediatric and adult patients and to improve the experience for people in this age range. MSK created an Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA at MSK) program which unites experts across 16 specialties, including medicine, surgery, social work, sexual health, and survivorship to help meet those challenges. The goal is simple: providing the best care for MSK patients ages 15 to 39.

Broadly, the survival rate for children with cancer has increased greatly in the past three decades; but for adolescents and young adults, there hasn’t been as much progress. Because cancer is rare in this age group, people may not think much of their symptoms, and local doctors may not suspect cancer because they see so few cases across their careers — or even none at all. Without expertise in this area, there’s also a gap in meeting this age group’s supportive needs, which could lead to worse outcomes for this vulnerable population.

At MSK, our experts are committed to driving change and improving the outlook for adolescents and young adults.  AYA at MSK Program leaders regularly ask for feedback from patients to better respond to their needs. One aspect of AYA at MSK is to empower patients to be their own advocate and take an active role in their health. 

For more information on MSK’s AYA at MSK program, click here.