What is the Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Program at
The Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology program at Children's is designed to treat and support teens and young adults who have a cancer diagnosis.
Recent studies show teens and young adults with certain kinds of cancer experience better results (outcomes) when their care is directed by pediatric oncologists in pediatric hospitals, like Children's of MN, than when cared for in adult settings. We work with you to develop the best treatment for your situation, assuring access to the latest treatment options.
In addition to customizing treatment protocols to your teen's unique developmental stage and diagnosis, adolescent care at Children's involves:
- Partnership between your teen or young adult, family and medical team. Adolescents are still learning to take care of themselves. We work closely with them to listen to concerns and fully understand their questions about treatment or medications to develop the best possible treatment plan that works for them. If necessary, we have access to a variety of specialists, including pediatric pharmacists, neuropsychologists and psychologists, child life specialists, and other experts.
- Supportive care and services for teens and young adults. About 30 percent of our patients are teens and young adults. This means you are likely to meet other kids your age and their families who are also going through treatment for cancer. We partner closely with teens and young adults to ensure their input, participation and adherence to their care plan.
- Self-care options. It can be frustrating when cancer or a blood disorder makes adolescents more dependent on their parents or caregivers. Self-care options can empower teens to help reduce side effects and take control of an aspect of their health care. At Children's, teens can be trained in biofeedback, self-massage, mental imagery, and other integrative medicine techniques that may help reduce nausea and fatigue. Yoga and other fitness programs for teens with cancer or blood disorders can help reduce stress and maintain fitness during treatment.
- Peer connections. The hematology/oncology team helps teens connect with peers through seasonal events coordinated by hospital staff, summer camps, and the Youth Advisory Council. Staff members can visit patients' schools to help school personnel understand treatment side effects and educational needs that can help a teen re-integrate into the school setting.
- Just for Teens: We have an online video especially for teens and adolescents who have cancer. Watch and listen as a group of teens who have had surgery here answer questions you may have. If you have additional questions, call the child life department.
- Children's Youth Advisory Council is another resource to answer your questions. YAC is a dedicated group of patients, ages 10 to 18, who offers practical ideas on how to help Children's focus even more closely on the special needs of children and teenagers. They eagerly voice their opinions, from choices of food on the hospital menu to how they want adults at Children's to relate to them.
- In Your Room. Each patient room in hospitals has a flat-panel television with free On-Demand movies and video games, video game system, full-size sofa bed, private bathroom, wi-fi access and a mini-fridge for personal groceries.