About Us

Med Student sitting around a table

What is Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Cancer?

We are a community of peers and experts who support teens and young adults with cancer (ages 15-39).

What Is Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Cancer Support?

You're in the middle of the school year, a complex project at work, or planning your wedding, and now you find out that you have cancer. What happens next?

First, UCLA’s medical team will help develop your cancer treatment plan. They will walk you through your options and the side effects of chemotherapy, radiation therapy or surgery.

But what about the other things? What about things like your relationships, education or career? What about bills that need paying or figuring out how, exactly, health insurance works? What about overlooked things, like the ability (or not) to get out of bed every morning?

That’s where we come in. The UCLA AYA Cancer Program is here to help you live beyond your diagnosis, to help as you pause or un-pause your dreams.

Who Are We?

We are a team of experts and peers who are passionate about helping young adults (teens) and emerging adults (20 and 30 somethings) through cancer.

Chances are, the issues you’re facing are not the same as those of young children or older adults with cancer. You have specific needs, goals and realities that many pediatric and adult cancer support programs aren’t prepared for. We get that.

We are a community for you — a community within the UCLA health care system where you can get answers to your questions and meet with people who know what you’re going through.

Our Mission

The UCLA Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Cancer program provides AYA patients freedom to express their experience, develop resilience, and ultimately heal in a community of providers and peers who understand and support them. We do this by supporting patients at the intersection of life and cancer, providing the steppingstones needed to navigate the unique and age-specific medical and psychological challenges faced by many AYA patients. Additionally, we advance research in the field of AYA oncology, educate providers about the unique needs of young people living with cancer and improve care for AYAs.

AYA Cancer Support Services

Our team helps in many areas, including:

  • Care coordination: We know what you’re going through, because our team is by your side at every step. We constantly talk to your medical care team so that we can best help you during cancer treatment with education and support.
  • Patient support: We provide robust patient support services, including support groups, counseling, financial assistance and special events, to help you at every stage of cancer treatment. We also facilitate an AYA Advisory Council, where you can meet with other young adults for understanding, advice and encouragement.
  • Oncofertility: No matter your age, a diagnosis of or treatment for cancer can affect the ability to have children. For many, starting a family is a big life decision. Whether or not you are planning to have kids someday, oncofertility services can help you keep your options open, and we can help you understand them.
  • Survivorship: What does life look like after cancer? Just as we support you through treatment, we help you prepare for survivorship after cancer, and it starts on day 1.

Make an Impact

You can make a direct and immediate impact on the lives of young people with cancer. Many of our young adults are struggling to pay for both cancer treatment and routine monthly expenses. Your donation funds daily essentials, the things they need to support themselves and their families, such as:

  • Transportation: Parking, gas and public transportation
  • Health and diet supplies: Food, medication and hygiene essentials
  • Caregiver expenses: Child or elder care
  • Long-term expenses: Fertility preservation, student loans and rent

Donations to UCLA’s AYA Cancer Program help young people undergoing treatment and beyond as they adjust to life after cancer. With your help, we can prepare the next generation to take on the world with strength, positivity and hope.