Coping and Support

AYA cancer patients have unique challenges, needs, and concerns. The AYA oncology program is dedicated to addressing all of these.

"We are able to support our young adult patients and their family members in ways that are appropriate, individualized, and essential for this age group. For example, many patients are finishing high school, are in college, or have recently entered the workforce when they are diagnosed with cancer. When their treatment ends, there may be physical, emotional, or cognitive changes that place them on a different life trajectory. We have counselors and a Life Coach who are available to help them successfully navigate this new path. Patients may receive iPads or laptops to help them remain connected with school or work. In addition, they receive psychosocial support in a 'young adult' setting. They can receive therapy and counseling from a PhD psychologist at no personal cost, have access to movies and video game consoles while in the hospital for chemotherapy treatments, get to meet Cardinals players and attend sporting events. This type of support just doesn't exist in the world of adult medicine. Plus, you add in the compassion displayed by the nurses and other staff, and you begin to understand why this is a better setting for young adult and teen patients." -  Robin Hanson, MD, PhD, Mercy Clinic pediatric hematologist-oncologist

Coping and support services include:

  • A clinic space designed for the needs and interests of the AYA patient. This includes:
  • game room with foosball, air hockey, video games and Dance Dance Revolution;
  • various spaces with desks, tables and computers for board games, internet surfing, reading or homework;
  • private, secluded cubbies with beds and personal televisions and a massage chair.
  • Chemotherapy and supportive treatments can be administered in any of these areas, and healing and recovery occur in all of them.
  • Various emotional, educational, financial and career counseling services are available through the AYA oncology program and the David C. Pratt Cancer Center and are generally free of charge to our patients and their families.
  • Financial assistance is available to assist with a variety of needs beyond just the medical costs of cancer care. Through the generous assistance of the Mercy Health Foundation, eligible patients may receive various types of support to help cover basic costs of living.
  • An array of patient, parent and sibling support groups are available throughout the year.  Support also often occurs through unscheduled and unstructured encounters with other patients and families in the open clinic facility.
Resource Guide
AYA Cancer

Get information and links to specialized resources for adolescents and young adults coping with cancer. Download our guide.

AYA Information