Adolescent & Young Adult Cancer Program

St. Louis AYA Program

At Mercy, we understand that adolescents and young adults (AYAs) need cancer care that meets their unique needs by oncologists and supportive care staff with specialized knowledge and clinical experience. We provide supportive care that also addresses their financial, psychological, fertility, education and career concerns.

Mercy has the St. Louis region's only dedicated young adult cancer program, designed specifically for adolescents and young adults aged 15-30+.

“Adolescent and young adult patients diagnosed with cancer face a unique struggle as they are forced to confront their own mortality at a time when their peers are discovering independence and feeling invincible.”  - Robin Hanson, MD, Ph.D., Mercy Clinic pediatric hematologist-oncologist

AYA Cancer Program & Patient Stories

Meet Our AYA Staff

Robin Hanson, MD, PhD, leads the AYA Oncology program at Mercy. He has a long-standing interest in young adult cancer care. He is supported by the AYA oncology team, including Jacquelyn Carter, MD  and Heather Licata, PNP, and  Kavitha Kosuri, DO, a medical oncologist with a special interest in holistic cancer care for young adult patients.

Laura Hanks, LCSW, is a clinical social worker and patient advocate who assists patients and families in finding support through every aspect of their cancer journey.

Kurt Soell, PhD*, is a psychotherapist and counselor who has worked with young adult cancer patients for over 15 years.

Jim Russell, PhD.*, is a neuropsychologist and counselor who has over two decades of experience providing cognitive testing, counseling, and school and job support and intervention for young adult cancer patients.

Natasha Westrich-Wood*, MA, ATR-BC,  is an art therapist who provides a safe outlet for expression of the thoughts and feelings of many of our cancer patients and their family members.

Gina Sundmacher, RN, BSN**, is a registered nurse trained in oncofertility and AYA navigation guiding AYAs through each unique challenge they face during their cancer journey.

Odin our Facility Dog, is an English Labrador whose snuggles provide comfort and distraction to patients and family members. Even on the hardest treatment days, Odin brings a smile to everyone’s faces.  

*Generously supported by Friends of Kids With Cancer

**Generously supported by Teen Cancer America