LIVESTRONG Young Adult Alliance

Missed: Young Adults with Cancer

YouTube Video

We traveled across the U.S. to connect with college students and young adults, as we explored how they deal with the specific issues they face when diagnosed with cancer.

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Each year, nearly 70,000 young adults between the ages of 15 and 39 are diagnosed with cancer.

In contrast to those younger and older, survival rates for young adults have not increased since 1975, possibly due to factors such as lack of insurance, less participation in clinical trials and delayed diagnoses.

In addition, young survivors often are caught between the worlds of pediatric and adult oncology. They may face a variety of unique long-term effects that will need to be addressed over their lifetimes, such as: reentry into school or the workforce, insurance coverage issues, infertility as a result of treatment, neurocognitive effects or secondary malignancies.

In 2006, the LIVESTRONG Young Adult Alliance (Alliance) was formed as a program of the Lance Armstrong Foundation. The Alliance was a coalition of organizations, included universities and academic medical centers, cancer centers, community hospitals, professional societies, nonprofit/advocacy groups, and liason members from government agencies such as NCI and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

November 2006, the Alliance, NCI and the AYAO PRG came together to commence the inaugural meeting of the Alliance and to collectively create an implementation plan to address the AYAO PRG recommendations. The Implementation Plan, Closing the Gap: A Strategic Plan was published in March 2007. 

November 2011, marked the completion of the Alliance’s 5-year strategic plan. A full report of the Alliance's accomplishments can be read here. Much progress occurred within the Alliance, the Task Forces, the National Cancer Institute, membership organizations and the LIVESTRONG Foundation to bring attention to the adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer burden. In addition, over the last 5-years, we have seen the Alliance membership grow from 94 individuals representing 90 organizations to over 350 individuals representing 150 institutions, organizations and government agencies.

This growth in the movement prompted LIVESTRONG and the Alliance Steering Committee to consider next best steps for the Alliance and its place within the movement. The decision was made to create a new Young Adult Alliance separate from LIVESTRONG that will continue to focus on serving AYAs diagnosed with cancer.   To help the new entity become established financially, LIVESTRONG has granted seed money to the new entity in 2012 and pledges continued support through the end of 2014.

In addition to its support of the new Alliance, LIVESTRONG will continue to invest in AYAO related work at the foundation in its efforts to address existing gaps in AYA oncology. 

In January 2012, the new Alliance received its Certificate of Formation (federal taxpayer identification number 45-4509389) and developed a new name: Critical Mass: The Young Adult Cancer Alliance. A new vision, mission and goals were also approved by the Critical Mass Interim Board of Directors.

Critical Mass: The Young Adult Cancer Alliance Vision

The Young Adult Cancer Alliance

Adolescents and Young Adults (AYAs) diagnosed with cancer face issues fundamentally different from children or the elderly. We highlight the unique features of the AYA cancer experience with the goal of improving treatments and outcomes. We envision a world where AYA’s with cancer have every resource necessary to survive and thrive.

For information on how to join the new Alliance Critical Mass: The Young Adult Cancer Alliance, please email info@criticalmass.org or visit criticalmass.org.

If you are a young adult affected by cancer, LIVESTRONG cancer navigation services are here to help.


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