New Video Series from the Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Program Shows How Teens and Young Adults Talk About Cancer

The Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Oncology Program at Seattle Children’s Hospital has released a new video series on Children’s YouTube Channel called, “Good Times and Bald Times.”

About 70,000 people in the U.S. aged 15 to 39 years are diagnosed with cancer each year. With the many life changes and social experiences that teens and young adults are already going through, the support of peers and feeling not alone in their fight against cancer is very important. Teens and young adults with cancer also have different needs, and different treatment challenges, from children or older adults. To help those in this age group hear how their peers are talking about and coping with the many difficulties of life with cancer, The Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Oncology Program at Seattle Children’s Hospital has released a new video series on Children’s YouTube Channel called, “Good Times and Bald Times.” In this unique series, a group of teens and young adults from Children’s Adolescent Young Adult Oncology Program candidly talk about their many experiences with the disease – from treatments and hair loss, to dealing with school, friends and family.

“This generation of teens and young adults is a connected group that relies heavily on technology for their information. We identified a real need for this type of resource and we wanted to utilize new media to provide education and psychosocial support to other cancer patients,” said Rebecca Johnson, MD, medical director of the Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Oncology Program at Seattle Children’s Hospital, who is also a cancer survivor. “It is so important for these teens and young adults with cancer to know that there is a peer out there that understands what they are going through and that support is available.”

The new series includes the following videos:

The discussion group was facilitated by Teen Talking Circles, a nonprofit organization founded by Linda Wolf that offers teens "a safe place to tell their truth," and trains adults to start Teen Talking Circles in their communities.

The Fight Against Cancer: AYA Cancer Program

The Seattle Children’s Hospital Cancer Program is consistently ranked in the top ten by U.S. News & World Report. Our comprehensive, multidisciplinary team of pediatric cancer experts treats more than 250 children, adolescents and young adults newly diagnosed with cancer every year – more than any other pediatric cancer center in the Pacific Northwest – and also provides follow-up care to more than 3,000 children and adolescents. A member of the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) with local partners the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and UW Medicine, Children’s is the referral resource for pediatric cancer care throughout Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. Our doctors, nurses and many other staff members are experts at working with children of all ages, including infants, children, adolescents and young adults through age 29, depending on their cancer diagnosis.

Over the past 30 years, the improvement in survival for AYAs with cancer has lagged far behind that of both children and older adults with cancer. AYAs are also at risk for adverse psychosocial outcomes following cancer therapy.

Teens and young adults comprise a significant population of patients receiving cancer treatment at Children’s. About a fourth of the patients treated in our inpatient unit are age 15 and older. Research shows that, for certain kinds of cancer, AYAs have dramatic improvements in long-term survival when they are treated on pediatric treatment protocols at a pediatric hospital like Children’s. In addition, Children’s has better outcomes than the national average, especially for patients with certain forms of leukemia or sarcoma.

The hospital is proud to extend its commitment to family-centered care for AYAs with cancer through the Building Hope expansion project. In 2013, the cancer program will move into a larger, 48-bed unit on the upper two floors of the new building. The top floor of the building will be a dedicated floor for AYA patients. No other hospital in the United States currently offers a dedicated inpatient unit of this size for the care of AYAs with cancer. The presence of a dedicated facility for AYA cancer care will advance the delivery of age-appropriate medical care for this population, provide a setting for new and groundbreaking social programming for AYAs with cancer, and greatly facilitate research aimed at improving psychosocial outcomes for this population.

About Seattle Children’s

Seattle Children’s Hospital, Foundation and Research Institute together deliver superior patient care, advance new discoveries and treatments through pediatric research, and raise funds to create better futures for patients. Consistently ranked as one of the top 10 children’s hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report, Seattle Children’s Hospital specializes in meeting the unique physical, emotional and developmental needs of children from infancy through young adulthood. Through the collaboration of physicians in nearly 60 pediatric subspecialties, Seattle Children’s Hospital provides inpatient, outpatient, diagnostic, surgical, rehabilitative, behavioral, and emergency and outreach services to families from around the world.

Located in downtown Seattle’s biotech corridor, Seattle Children’s Research Institute is pushing the boundaries of medical research to find cures for pediatric diseases and improve outcomes for children all over the world. Internationally recognized investigators and staff at the research institute are advancing new discoveries in cancer, genetics, immunology, pathology, infectious disease, injury prevention, bioethics and much more.

Seattle Children’s Hospital and Research Foundation and Seattle Children’s Hospital Guild Association work together to gather community support and raise funds for uncompensated care, clinical care and research. The foundation receives nearly 80,000 gifts each year, from lemonade stand proceeds to corporate sponsorships. Seattle Children’s Hospital Guild Association is the largest all-volunteer fundraising network for any hospital in the country, serving as the umbrella organization for 450 groups of people who turn an activity they love into a fundraiser. Support from the foundation and guild association makes it possible for Seattle Children’s care and research teams to improve the health and well-being of all kids.

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