Finding Your Way: Life with Cancer as a Young Adult

Did You Know?

Adolescent and young adult (AYA) refers to someone diagnosed with cancer between the ages of 15 and 39. It’s an age range of cancer patients with unique needs, which have been overlooked by many, even professionals, in the oncology community.

Juggling cancer care with school, work, launching one’s independence, new relationships and young families are some of the hallmarks of this age group.

We’re invested in changing cancer care for the Penn State Health AYA community.

This page aims to provide a step in the right direction for the AYA cancer community by sharing reliable resources, in-depth information and blog stories written by cancer patients and survivors, medical professionals and caregivers.

Resources

Connecting With Other Young Adults

  • Life on Pause: A podcast for and by young adults with cancer and created via Zoom here at Penn State Health. Recorded on the third Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m. To learn more, email lifeonpause@pennstatehealth.psu.edu
  • Bone Marrow Transplant Support Group: Open to all ages at Penn State Health. Contact Beth Harvey at 717-531-0003, x281210.
  • Cactus Cancer Society: Creative online coping support for young adults, including Awkward Auntie with sex therapist Dr. Anne Katz, mindfulness and yoga classes, book clubs, art programs and more.
  • Elephants and Tea: A magazine (online and quarterly in print) for and by the AYA cancer community.

General Websites

Exercise and Wellness

  • The ONE Group: The ONE Group (Oncology-Nutrition-Exercise) at Penn State College of Medicine establishes and offers evidence-based physical activity and nutrition interventions from diagnosis onward.
  • Cancer Exercise App: Custom exercise programs for cancer survivors (iOS only).

Adventures/Travel/Wishes

  • First Descents: Life-changing outdoor adventures, such as whitewater rafting, kayaking, ice climbing and surfing, for young adults ages 18 to 39
  • True North Treks: Free backpacking and canoeing treks in beautiful and remote wilderness locations for young adults ages 18 to 39
  • Wish Upon A Wedding: Providing weddings and vow renewals for couples facing serious illness

Fertility

  • Verna’s Purse: Financial assistance through ReproTech to make fertility preservation available to all who are facing fertility-threatening treatment
  • Team Maggie’s Dream: Fertility assistance grants of up to $2,500 for those between the ages of 15 and 37

Financial Assistance

Life After Cancer: Work and School