Teen Cancer America is a registered non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of teenagers and young adults with cancer.
What’s the problem?
Each year in the United States, approximately 12,000 young people between the ages of 12 and 25 are diagnosed with cancer. Research shows that for most cancers survivorship for teens and young adults has not improved in over thirty years, while major improvements have been made in both pediatric and adult cancers. Even though teens are more likely to better tolerate serious treatment than the other age groups, the actual outcomes do not reflect success. Teen Cancer America (TCA) asked why—and is working towards improving outcomes for teens and young adults, based on their hypothesis.
Teen Cancer America recognizes that teens and young adults fall into a sort of “no man’s land” when it comes to treatment–they aren’t really children, but shouldn’t be classified as adults either. Hospital staff are accustomed to toddlers in pediatric wards or seniors in adult centers, but a seventeen year old presents a different challenge all together, and has completely different emotional and social needs than children or adults.
In the U.S., when a young person up to the age of eighteen (in some places twenty-one) is diagnosed with cancer, they are likely to be treated in a pediatric hospital along side young children. Walls are often decorated in bright primary colors and visits from costumed superheroes aren’t uncommon. After turning eighteen, the same teen would end up in an adult hospital among much older people.
Teen Cancer hopes to light a fire in America’s health systems, so that teens are treated like the young adults they are, with their own set of physical and emotional needs. We need to help develop specialist teams experienced in working with this age group We believe this is an essential step for teen cancer survival rates to improve and match the better rates seen in children and adults..
What are we going to do about it?
Teen Cancer America’s MISSION is to improve the quality of life and outcomes for teens and young adults with cancer, support those affected by their cancer, and facilitate access to the best possible age appropriate care and support.
OUR VISION is to ignite a movement that changes the way teens and young adults with cancer between the ages of 13 and 25 are treated and supported in America. By being a conduit for change in the way young people are cared for and treated, Teen Cancer America hopes that no more young people will be wronged by cancer.
WE PARTNER with hospitals to provide strategic guidance to establish specialist units and services.
WE ENCOURAGE health systems and the pharmaceutical industry to invest in much needed research and clinical trials specifically to improve survival and outcomes in this age group.
WE ACT as expert consultants helping hospitals to develop specialist facilities and programs for teens and young adults with cancer and aim to contribute financial support to each hospital we partner with when we can.
WE ADVOCATE for all young people with cancer to have equal access to optimum treatment and support.
WE SUPPORT hospitals to become centers of excellence and reach Teen Cancer America standards and contribute to their marketing and fundraising.
WE PROVIDE support to young people with cancer, young survivors, families and friends.
WE DEVELOP educational materials to help students, educators and employers learn about cancer and support young people.
WE ASSIST hospitals to develop and train staff to work in specialist teams.
WE FACILITATE collaboration between hospitals throughout the US and overseas.