Better serving younger cancer patients | Norton Healthcare Louisville, Ky.

Better serving younger cancer patients

New programs for unique needs of teens, young adults

(Louisville, KY – July 6, 2016) Norton Cancer Institute has launched two initiatives to provide focused medical care, support and resources to people ages 15 to 39 who have been diagnosed with cancer. Patients in this age range represent a distinct subgroup of oncology patients. Cancer specialists recognize that adolescent and young adult (AYA) oncology patients, including those over age 18 who were initially diagnosed and treated during childhood, have unique needs related to their types of cancer, psychological impacts and subsequent follow-up needs.

Because cancer care in the United States historically has focused on children and older adults, AYA patients can experience a gap in care. Norton Cancer Institute’s My Young Adult Program (MyYAP) and AYA Transition Clinic are the only programs of their kind in Kentucky and Southern Indiana working to close this gap.

“Learning you have cancer is a life-changing event. We are committed to addressing the many unique needs of the adolescents and young adults who are facing this journey,” said Joseph Flynn, D.O., MPH, FACP, executive director and physician-in-chief, Norton Cancer Institute.

More about MyYAP

MyYAP meets the specialized medical and psychosocial care needs of AYA cancer patients. Research shows helping AYA cancer patients address a full range of medical, emotional and social issues helps increase survival rates. MyYAP services are built around key elements such as clinical social work, behavioral health needs, physical therapy, genetic counseling and fertility counseling.

The program offers a host of integrative complementary therapies, including massage, yoga, art and music therapy. Participants connect and network through social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. They plan various events and group activities, such as laser tag, bowling and dinner at area restaurants.

More About the AYA Transition Clinic

The AYA Transition Clinic is available to patients age 18 or older who are survivors of childhood cancer and have been off therapy for at least two years. A significant need for long-term follow-up exists among this group of patients to assess chronic and late effects from earlier cancer treatments.

A collaborative relationship between Norton Cancer Institute and Norton Children’s Hospital creates an unprecedented opportunity for a comprehensive AYA program in Louisville and the surrounding region.

The AYA Transition Clinic is run by clinicians with expertise in the individual needs of these patients. Patrick Williams, M.D., medical director, Norton Cancer Institute, is dedicated to providing state-of-the-art care for the long-term needs of these patients.

To provide seamless care, a patient navigator works with each patient to provide clinical and emotional support, education and assistance in addressing barriers to care.

The navigator may assist with providing disease-specific education and compiling a summary of cancer treatment and health promotion education to date. Other navigator services include scheduling appointments; scheduling and coordinating studies; and explaining screenings, procedures, exams and lab work. Navigators also serve as advocates, assessing the physical, emotional and social needs of patients and their families.

“This clinic reflects our commitment to care not just for the body, but the patient within,” Dr. Williams said.

Facts about cancer and AYA patients from the National Cancer Institute

  • Cancer is the leading cause of disease-related death for the AYA population, which presents the lowest five-year cancer survival rates. Among AYAs, only accidents, suicide and homicide claim more lives than cancer. 
  • While overall cancer death rates have dropped 23 percent in the United States over the past 21 years, the AYA patient subgroup is the only demographic in which cancer death rates are increasing. 
  • Leukemia, lymphoma, testicular cancer (germ cell tumors) and thyroid cancer are the most common cancer types in younger AYAs (ages 15 to 24). By ages 25 to 39, breast cancer and melanoma account for a growing share of cancers among AYAs.

Norton Cancer Institute’s AYA initiatives and the Transition Clinic are open to all AYA cancer patients. Individuals are welcome to participate in these programs regardless of where their diagnosis and treatment have taken place.

For more information about Norton Cancer Institute’s adolescent and young adult programs, contact Gina Morrison at (502) 899-6888 or

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