AYA Program | Hackensack Meridian Health | NJ   

Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital Establishes Adolescent and Young Adult Program for Patients with Cancer

Program aimed at increasing survival rates and addressing unique challenges

AYA Program

Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital has expanded its pediatric hematology-oncology services to include an Adolescent and Young Adult Program (AYA). Like other aspects of the cancer care services at Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital, the AYA program will be funded in part by Tackle Kids Cancer.

Adolescent and young adults face unique challenges when coping with a cancer diagnosis. It can be difficult for teens and young adults with cancer to manage the disease’s emotional and social challenges. Among the unique challenges facing adolescents and young adults with cancer:

  • Younger AYAs are going through challenges associated with being a teen
  • Issues for this group may include relationships, sexuality and fertility, being out of school, body image, and worries about long-term health.
  • Patients may be starting a family or starting a career

Care will be provided by doctors and nurses with expertise in AYA cancers and blood disorders, and a dedicated AYA nurse navigator at Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital will serve to support the patient and family through their cancer journey.

In addition to medical care, services offered through the AYA program include:

  • Counseling
  • Financial and support services
  • Educational support
  • Opportunities for peer support
  • Fertility Preservation Program
  • Survivorship services

The AYA program is designed to help close a gap that currently exists in cancer care. “During the past two decades or so, we have continued to see a survival gap in the AYA population, from the ages of 15 to 39 years old compared with the significant survival gains experienced by pediatric patients and older adults over the past 30 to 40 years,” said Burton E. Appel, M.D., Associate Director, Children's Cancer Institute.

Hackensack Meridian Children's Health pediatric oncologists are leading cutting-edge clinical research while providing diagnosis and treatment of leukemia, lymphoma, bone, brain and kidney tumors, as well as rare tumor types.

U.S. News & World Report 2023-2024 Cancer Best Hospitals

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