Recently, our adolescent and young adult (AYA) team has noticed AYA cancer frequently featured in the popular media. Through books, movies, and TV shows, both fictional and real accounts of AYAs affected by cancer have made their way into the mainstream. We briefly discuss a few here:

AYAs on the Big Screen

Fault_in_our_stars        FiOS Book

You’ve likely heard of the summer movie or read the book, The Fault in Our Stars, which follows two fictional AYA cancer patients, Hazel and Gus, as they work through the evolving challenges of adolescence, cancer and love. The movie has been praised for staying true to the book of the same name written by John Green. In the book, Green deftly blends humor and emotion for a story that is fun to read yet coveys a powerful message. The story is intended for a young adult audience but it tackles a subject in cancer that is not often addressed in mainstream books, especially for AYAs.

AYAs on TV


Similarly, ABC Family’s Chasing Life, which premiered last month, offers another fictional perspective on the life of a young adult with cancer. This storyline is about April, an aspiring journalist in her mid-twenties, who, like many of her peers, is trying to balance her professional, home and social lives. To make things even more complicated, April is diagnosed with Leukemia. As a cancer patient, she struggles with how to let her family and friends know, and most importantly, how to manage her burgeoning life with reality of cancer.


AYA Non-Fiction


In his new memoir, What It Takes, Super Bowl champion with the New York Giants and former Defensive All-American with Boston College Mark Herzlich shares his experience as a Ewing’s Sarcoma survivor. Herzlich’s story captures the highs and lows he experienced through cancer diagnosis and treatment and how he kept his dream of playing professional football alive. This book and Herzlich’s experience serves as a model of hope and a reminder to all of what AYAs can achieve before, during and after cancer.


What Do You Think?!

If you have read any books or seen TV shows or movies featuring AYAs with cancer, we would like to hear what you think about how AYAs affected by cancer are portrayed in the popular media. Do you think these forms of media effectively raise awareness about AYA cancer? What would you like to see as a show or read about?

To share your thoughts please either reply to this post or email us at ayaprogram@tuftsmedicalcenter.org. We look forward to hearing from you!

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