Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Program

Group of teenagers supporting each other through illness

The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute offers Oregon's only program devoted specifically to the needs of cancer patients diagnosed from ages 15 to 39. The Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Program, also known as AYA, can:

  • Connect you with other young people dealing with cancer.
  • Offer support for your goals and well-being.
  • Provide treatments to protect your fertility.
  • Make sure you receive first-rate medical care tailored to your needs.
  • Provide access to clinical trials and advances in treating young cancer patients.

Why choose the AYA Program?

Each year, about 70,000 people ages 15 to 39 in the U.S. are diagnosed with cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute. For young people who have a disease, cancer is among the most common.

Still, having cancer at a young age can feel isolating. When you go to appointments, you may not see many patients your age. 

Cancer also may hit at an especially frustrating time, when you're trying to finish your education, establish your independence, or start a career or family. You may have particular concerns about fertility or cancer coming back years in the future.

At the AYA Program, we understand all this. We'll address your concerns and connect you with other young patients, including in our AYA Clubhouse space, so you can face cancer with the support and fellowship of peers. You'll also have access to a wide range of providers who are passionate about caring for young people with cancer. 

Meet Dr. Brandon Hayes-Lattin

Dr. Brandon Hayes-Lattin, AYA's medical director, understands the special needs and concerns of young cancer patients. He survived testicular cancer after being diagnosed in 1998 as a 28-year-old medical resident.

Since then, Dr. Hayes-Lattin has become one of the nation's leaders in developing the field of adolescent and young adult oncology. 

He started the Knight Cancer Institute's AYA Program in 2006 with financial backing from the Livestrong Foundation. He served as the first medical co-chair of Livestrong's Young Adult Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 organizations pursuing innovations for cancer patients ages 15 to 40. 

Dr. Hayes-Lattin has also done extensive research aimed at improving survival rates and quality of life among young people with cancer. The AYA Program follows recommendations of the National Cancer Institute's Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Progress Review Group and was among six national cancer centers to create a repository of tumor samples for research.

OHSU cancer support services

In addition to exceptional cancer care, OHSU and the Knight Cancer Institute offer many services to support young cancer patients.

Clinical trials

OHSU's research includes clinical trials for young cancer patients. 

Fertility preservation

Not all cancer treatments put your fertility at risk. But if a treatment could damage your fertility, we offer a team of specialists and a range of services to protect your options.

Rehabilitation services

Our team of rehabilitative specialists includes experts in helping cancer survivors. Services include physical therapy, therapy to help with memory and concentration, and treatments for pain and other side effects of cancer and cancer treatment.

Social services

Specially trained social workers offer counseling and support to cancer patients. They can provide help with conflicts, housing, transportation and other issues.

Writing workshops

The Knight Cancer Institute offers a free 10-week creative writing workshop for any cancer patient in the community ages 15 to 39. No writing experience is needed. Participants, led by a trained facilitator, find a welcoming space to process their experience through writing. 

Workshops begin in fall, winter and spring and meet 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays at the Center for Health & Healing. Contact Brianna Barrett at 503-453-7465 or to register or learn more.

Patient story

Meet Brianna Barrett, who turned her cancer diagnosis at age 24 into a documentary, "Cancerland." Barrett found support and creative expression through the AYA Program. Read more patient stories.

Learn more