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.


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 [email protected]
  • 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).


  • Dear Jack Foundation: A wish-granting program for young adults 18-39 who are currently receiving treatment for a life-threatening diagnosis.
  • 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


  • 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

  • The Samfund grants: For 21 to 39 year olds who are post-treatment or on maintenance therapy
  • DAM-CANCER Foundation: Financial assistance to young adults, ages 18 to 35, who have cancer
  • Four Diamonds: Four Diamonds covers 100% of all medical expenses related to cancer care not covered by insurance for eligible Four Diamonds young adults (diagnosed before age 22).
  • Brooks Argento Foundation: The Foundation's mission is to support young adults with a cancer diagnosis, like Brooks, and their families. Whether through guidance, monetary donations, personal care items, needed supplies, or just an ear to listen, the Brooks Argento Foundation is here to ease the burden and lend a hand.


Interested in learning more about the research studies we offer to patients at Penn State, including adolescents and young adults with cancer?

Visit StudyFinder to learn more

Meet the Team