Wednesday, November 27, 2013

David Stroud Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Symposium

"You never know how strong you really are until strong is your only option" 
-- David Stroud

David Stroud
Stroud passed away two weeks before his 20th
birthday after a 3-year battle with Hodgkin's Lymphoma
On November 16th the Stroud Family, in conjunction with Children's Hospital Los Angeles and USC Keck School of Medicine, hosted the first annual David Stroud Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Oncology Symposium. This full day event brought together researchers, social workers, clinicians, patients and caretakers affiliated with AYA oncology, laying the groundwork for improvement in the lives of young adults with cancer.

Distinguished speakers included Dr. Nita Seibel of the NCI, Heidi Adams, CEO of Critical Mass, and Dr. James Hu of USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. A wide array of perspectives were presented, providing a comprehensive picture of what it means to face cancer at the cusp of adult life. 

Topics presented included: 
  • Major changes facing AYA oncology
  • Biological and molecular aspects of AYA cancers
  • Survivorship and patient advocacy
  • Impact of AYA oncology in the military and on college campuses
  • Models of care
Over 70,000 young adults (ages 18-34) are newly diagnosed with cancer each year. AYA patients face unique hurdles because unlike children, young adults are fully aware of the realities they face. Unlike adults, AYA patients are still in a crucially formative period of their lives, not yet having established independence from their parents nor an adult identity. As their friends gear up to take the SAT, apply for college, or go to Prom, AYA patients may be sitting in a hospital bed or, worse, in a coma, nevertheless missing out on the milestones of young adult life. 

Given the unique biological and psychological effects on this age group, it's important to continue the conversation and make sure any AYA or caretaker affected by cancer has access to resources that may help with this very difficult journey.

If you've been affected by cancer, please reach out and let us know what resources you have found helpful. A few great sites we've come across are listed below: 
  • seventyK
    • Resources for age-appropriate treatment including a Wellness Network for patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals
  • Critical Mass
    • Provides a voice for the AYA cancer movement
  • Journal of Young Adult Oncology (JAYAO)
    • First cancer journal dedicated to the AYA population; provides a central forum for peer-reviewed articles, reviews and research in the field 
  • Young Survival Coalition 
    • Community of resources and support for young women with breast cancer
  • Vital Options
    • Provides video and radio content for everyone touched by cancer
  • Stupid Cancer
    • Community behind The Stupid Cancer Radio Show and the OMG! Cancer Summit for Young Adults
  • Planet Cancer (now part of LIVEStrong)
    • Support, resources and "cancertainment" for young adults with cancer
But there are many more out there - so please let us know! 

We are looking forward to next year's symposium event and a huge thank you to the Stroud Family, CHLA and USC Keck School of Medicine for putting this one together!  

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