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Overview of cancer survivorship in adolescent and young adults

Jean Chiyon Yi, PhD
Karen L Syrjala, PhD
Section Editors
Patricia A Ganz, MD
Larissa Nekhlyudov, MD, MPH
Deputy Editor
Sadhna R Vora, MD


By 2022, an estimated 18 million cancer survivors will live in the United States [1]. Patients aged 15 to 39 years old at their initial diagnosis constitute the adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer survivorship population, which includes approximately 700,000 patients diagnosed each year, or 2 percent of all invasive cancers diagnosed in the United States [2,3] and less than 10 percent of all cancer survivors [4]. Although the incidence of invasive cancer in AYAs is lower than in younger children or older adults, the psychosocial needs of AYAs often exceed those seen in older adults.

This section reviews the evidence related to psychosocial issues in AYA cancer survivors, including prevalence, risk factors, and interventions that address the psychosocial needs of AYA cancer survivors. For purposes of this discussion, we will address survivorship as it pertains to AYA patients who have completed initial treatment for cancer and who are without evidence of disease.


Cancer in the adolescent and young adult (AYA) population crosses many diagnoses. The United States National Cancer Institute reported the most common types of cancer occurring between 1975 and 2000 using data derived from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program, and these included [3]:

Lymphoma (21 percent), with Hodgkin disease accounting for almost 12 percent

Melanoma (15 percent)


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