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AYA Oncology By the Numbers

TOP - September 2011 Vol 4, No 6 published on September 21, 2011 in In the News

Each year, a significant number of adolescents and young adults (AYAs), aged 15 to 39 years, are faced with a cancer diagnosis. And yet, there has been a lack in progress when it comes to treating this age-group. To better understand the facts and figures associated with these patients, let’s take a closer look at AYA oncology by the numbers. Over the past 30 years, cancer incidence in young adults has increased more than any other age-group…

However, survival rates among AYAs have not improved at the same rate as other age-groups. Each year 70,000 AYAs aged 15 to 39 years are diagnosed with cancer. This is equivalent to 1 diagnosis every 8 minutes. The incidence of specific cancer types varies dramatically across the AYA age continuum. For example, leukemias, lymphomas, and germ-cell tumors (cancers that begin in cells that give rise to sperm or eggs, such as testicular cancer) are the most common cancer types in younger AYAs…

However, by ages 25 through 39, these cancers decline in frequency, whereas other cancers—cervical, colorectal, and particularly breast— comprise a growing share of cancers in older AYAs. Among AYA women, cancer is the most common disease-related cause of death. For AYA men, cancer is the second most common disease-related cause of death. (Heart disease is the most common.)

Among AYAs, only unintentional injury, suicide, and homicide claim more lives than cancer. There are more than 350,000 long-term childhood cancer survivors in the United States under the age of 40. One AYA loses his or her fight with cancer approximately every hour. Among the US college student population, 1 in 100 is a cancer survivor.

Sources: National Cancer Institute; The I’m Too Young For This! Cancer Foundation.

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Last modified: July 22, 2021