How Far We’ve Come
The Reid R. Sacco Adolescent & Young Adult (AYA) Cancer Program at Tufts Medical Center welcomed our first patients in January 2013. To celebrate our first five-years we presented a recap to some of our some of our most ardent supporters, founders of the Reid R. Sacco AYA Cancer Alliance, and now share an overview with you.
In addition to providing AYAs with survivorship care to help them manage and monitor their initial- and/or late-effects from treatment, the program also participates in AYA-dedicated research, training future providers, and education and outreach activities.
Adolescents and Young Adults who receive their care in the AYA Cancer Program were diagnosed with cancer as children, teenagers or young adults; 67% of our patients who were diagnosed with cancer under the age of 40 years old were diagnosed under the age of 15 years old while 33% of our patients who were diagnosed with cancer under the age of 40 years old were diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 39 years old. In addition to AYAs who have sought their survivorship care with our program from the program’s inception, we have continually welcomed new AYAs each year. While some individuals are referred to our program from their treating oncologist or a specialist at Tufts Medical Center or the Floating Hospital for Children, we have seen many young adults who have self-referred from word of mouth or the Chronicle television episode, which featured Dr. Parsons and the AYA Program.
Our ongoing research
Research pertaining to the AYA cancer demographic has historically been lacking. Members of the AYA program’s care team have made contributions by participating in clinical trials (e.g., Dr. Parsons is part of the Hodgkin Lymphoma Steering Committee of the Children’s Oncology Group) as well as co-author of publications (e.g., Is the Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Survivor at Risk for Late Effects? It Depends on Where You Look).
Training future providers
A core feature of the AYA Cancer Program has been to train young adults interested in pursuing careers in medicine. Each year we have enjoyed watching these individuals learn about the impact of cancer on AYAs as well as the complexity of providing survivorship care, in our clinic. Two of our former trainees, who continue to be involved with the program, are in residency programs and two others are about to graduate from medical school. Congratulations Darcy & Kate!
Education & Outreach
We have held an annual lecture at Tufts Medical Center each year as part of our efforts to raise awareness and education of the AYA cancer demographic, and have been privileged to host Drs. Archie Bleyer, Wendy Stock and Graham Colditz, as well as young adult cancer survivor Suleika Jaouad. Members of our program also present to healthcare professionals, patients & survivors as well as medical students. We strive to provide outreach directly to our AYA community through periodic meet-ups, our Facebook page and blog. If you would like to participate in our outreach efforts, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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