Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Center

We Know What You Need

Hearing the words “you have cancer” is a shock. But if you are an adolescent or young adult diagnosed with a pediatric cancer, it can flip your world upside down. As reality sinks in, you realize you are facing one of the most important decisions of your life: where to go for treatment.

You need a place that specializes in treating cancers typically found in children. But you also need a place that understands the unique needs of adolescents and young adults. You’ll find both at Cincinnati Children’s. Our well-established Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Program offers world-class cancer care and the support you need to keep living your life in the midst of a cancer diagnosis. We are here for you in the journey ahead.

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Our adolescent and young adult cancer specialists are nationally recognized for their expertise. John Perentesis, MD, director of the Division of Oncology, recently co-authored the National Cancer Institute / Children’s Oncology Group’s Blueprint for research: Adolescent and young adult oncology. Perentesis and adolescent and young adult cancer specialists Joseph Pressey, MD, Robin Norris, MD, and Ralph Salloum, MD, lead our team.

Cincinnati Children’s is one of the nation’s largest centers for innovative cancer therapies, anticancer drug research and bone marrow transplantation.

  • We were the first to pioneer tumor and leukemia precision medicine DNA sequencing to guide the care of our high-risk and relapsed patients.  
  • We have a leading program to target cancers and leukemias with immune and cellular therapies.
  • We use novel drug therapies, including small molecule anticancer agents and drugs that slow down tumor growth. 
  • We offer cutting-edge radiation therapy. Our Proton Therapy Center offers pencil beam scanning, the most advanced form of radiation therapy available.
  • Specialists at Cincinnati Children's have performed more than 1,900 bone marrow transplants, and have helped develop bone marrow transplant procedures that are now the standard of care in 240 cancer centers throughout North America.

Our Patient and Family Wellness Center has a whole team of people ready to support you − psychologists, social workers, chaplains, music therapists and holistic health specialists. They understand and can provide resources so you can live your life to the fullest in the midst of cancer treatment.

The Patient and Family Wellness Center team can help you:

  • Cope with the anxiety that often comes from cancer treatment
  • Find ways to relax and recharge
  • Find spiritual refreshment, whatever your religious background may be
  • Improve sleep, reduce pain and manage stress through activities such as massage, yoga and reflexology

You will even have your own social worker, who will be your point person throughout treatment to make sure you are getting the wellness resources you need. The social worker will provide an initial assessment and work with the multidisciplinary team to create a customized plan of care, addressing new needs as they arise.

Wouldn’t it be great to talk with somebody who’s been where you are? Someone who understands what it’s like to have life interrupted by cancer? We’ll connect you with cancer survivors from our program, who will listen to your story, talk about theirs, and share what helped them get through.

Our dedicated outpatient and inpatient areas were designed for young adults by young adults. These age-appropriate spaces help make adolescents and young adults feel at home.

If you are in school, chances are you already had a pretty busy life before you got cancer. You might already be wondering how all this is going to affect your classroom attendance, participation and grades. Can you juggle chemo and classwork? Will your teachers or professors work with you so you don’t get off track? These are good questions, and our licensed professional educators can help you answer them, establish realistic goals and make a plan for the future.

Something you might not be aware of is that cancer and chemotherapy can affect fertility. And planning ahead can make a big difference down the road.

Before your treatment begins, we’ll provide you with a fertility consultation to help you understand your fertility risk and whether it might be a good idea to think about fertility preservation options sooner rather than later. This consult is offered through a partnership with the Cincinnati Children’s Comprehensive Fertility Care and Preservation Program, one of the country’s first programs to focus on fertility preservation in patients receiving intensive therapies for pediatric cancers.

The fertility preservation team, which includes subspecialists in gynecology, oncology, and urology, can help you understand the strengths, limitations, successes and science behind each option.

You might not be thinking about life after cancer yet − but we are. Our Cancer Survivorship Center provides specialized medical care and psychosocial support to cancer survivors − continuously and without interruption for the rest of their lives. Cincinnati Children’s established the program over 30 years ago as one of the first of its kind in the country. Today, the Cancer Survivorship Center cares for more than 1,800 children and adult survivors, who range in age from 5 to 65-plus years old.

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Learn what makes the Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Center at Cincinnati Children’s so special.