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Young girl smiling and holding her hat
Young girl smiling and holding her hat

Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Program

We are the only program in South Texas that specializes in adolescent and young adult cancer. Patients receive services in a modern hospital unit just for patients between 15 and 39 years old. You’ll receive the services that are appropriate for your condition, along with personalized attention tailored to your unique situation.
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Adolescents and young adults (AYAs) experience cancer differently than children and older adults. Many of our AYA patients are busy with school, work or raising a family before their diagnosis. Putting these efforts on hold for cancer treatment can feel isolating, but it doesn’t have to be.

At Mays Cancer Center, home to UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center, you receive services from a team that cares about you as a person.

We combine leading therapies with services that ease the stress of cancer treatment and help you plan for your future. You’ll find help in our modern care environment, designed with input from AYA patients, that doesn’t feel like a cancer center.

Why choose us for adolescent and young adult cancer care?

You can access experienced adult and pediatric cancer doctors (oncologists) who understand the unique needs of young adult patients. Our oncologists have completed fellowship training and deliver precise, expert care. We work together to quickly determine which specialist is best for your situation.

Adolescents and young adults may need pediatric or adult cancer treatments, regardless of age. For example, young adults with certain leukemias may need pediatric therapies. Our pediatric and adult oncologists collaborate to ensure that you get the care that’s right for your needs.

Access to clinical trials

We are giving more adolescents and young adults the opportunity to receive a wide range of therapies including clinical trials, if eligible. Our efforts also include innovative methods for reducing side effects and improving quality of life during treatment. We consider clinical trials in all phases of your care, beginning at the time of an initial diagnosis. Our active role in research gives many patients access to trials that may only be available in select programs nationwide.

Get more information about:

Our AYA hospital unit and lounge

Cancer care for adolescents and young adults often requires frequent monitoring that’s only available in the hospital. You’ll receive inpatient care from our partners at the AYA Blood and Cancer Center at University Hospital, which is among the few in Texas dedicated to adolescents and young adults with cancer. Here you receive care from nurses who specialize in treating AYA patients.

Our AYA patient lounge offers a relaxing environment where you can pass the time during your stay. Amenities include:

  • Full-body massage chairs
  • Self-serve coffee and snacks
  • Gaming equipment, such as Xbox and PlayStation
  • Art projects you can do on your own
  • Lending library

Additional services for adolescents and young adults with cancer

We offer a broad range of services that help AYA patients cope with the many ways that cancer affects their lives. These services include:

Financial navigation and other support

Social workers provide financial navigation services to help you manage the costs of your care.

  • If you have insurance, we can connect you with helpful resources, which may include drug discount programs, to lower your out-of-pocket costs.
  • If you don’t have insurance, we help you learn about and apply for coverage options for which you may be eligible.

Our nurse navigators and social workers specialize in helping AYAs push past other challenges with helpful services that include:

  • Emotional support to address problems related to body image, anxiety and depression and referral to counseling services
  • Assistance with work or school arrangements, which may include strategies for keeping your job or staying in school
  • Medication assistance, which includes financial assistance to help you pay for necessary medications
  • Care coordination including assistance making appointments for tests and treatments

Fertility counseling and preservation

Cancer treatments may affect your ability to have children naturally. Our team will talk with you about steps you can take before starting treatment to keep your options open.

We discuss whether you are at risk, and if so, options that may preserve your fertility. We can also refer you to fertility specialists (reproductive endocrinologists) so that you can learn more. These specialists often meet with AYA patients within a few business days to offer the timely information and peace of mind you need.

Genetic testing and counseling

Genetic testing and counseling helps you learn whether you are at risk for additional types of cancer. The results may also guide care decisions so that you receive effective treatment for your situation.

The decision to pursue genetic testing is yours. After our genetic counselors explain the risks and benefits, you can decide what’s right for you. If you seek testing, these specialists explain what the results mean for your health. Find out more about our cancer genetics and high-risk screening clinic.

Survivorship care and support

After you complete treatment, we offer coordinated services to support your ongoing health. Find out more about our:

We follow research-based practices for survivorship care and develop a personalized plan that includes:

  • Physical exams to check for complications, which may include memory problems or heart issues
  • Screening tests to catch early signs of new or recurring cancer
  • Information about a healthy lifestyle and ways you can reduce your future cancer risk
  • Referrals to specialists, including fertility specialists; pulmonologists for breathing problems; or other specialists for delayed treatment complications