Historically, adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with cancer have been an underserved group of patients by cancer support organizations that tend to focus their attention and resources toward children and older adults. Every year in the United States approximately 70,000 adolescents and young adults, ages 15 to 39 years, are diagnosed with cancer. Often these young people are just beginning to lead independent adult lives and suddenly find themselves needing the support of parents and family members. Some have student loans or entry-level jobs that they lose during treatment. Because many AYAs either lack health insurance coverage or have high deductible policies that economically limit their access to routine care, it is not uncommon to see AYAs presenting through the emergency room with evidence of advanced disease. The diagnosis of cancer and the costs related to treatment can devastate a young family. Often these young people feel isolated and depressed as they cope with the physical side effects of treatment, changes in body image, and altered expectations about the future. Sterility is a side effect of many forms of cancer treatment. Harvesting eggs and sperm prior to treatment can offer the possibility of future children, but the cost of maintaining fertility may be tens of thousands of dollars, which puts it beyond the reach of many patients.
AYA Cancer Foundation’s purpose is to raise philanthropic dollars to provide economic, educational, and psychosocial support to AYA patients and their families, and to educate the public, healthcare professionals and institutions of the many psychosocial and medical issues of these patients.
We envision a healthcare system where AYAs, as well as all cancer patients are provided with covered state of the art medical treatment in age-appropriate clinical facilities, and the psychosocial and financial support needed to succeed in their battle against cancer so that they can continue to live a full and productive life, which should include preservation of their right to have children.
Our Foundation's mission is to provide economical and psychosocial support to adolescents and young adults with cancer in San Antonio and South Texas, and to educate the public, healthcare professionals and institutions of the many psychosocial and medical issues of these patients.