Last week, members of the Oncofertility Consortium flew to Austin, Texas to meet with the Young Adult Alliance. The Alliance is a coalition of more than 120 research, clinical education, and advocacy organizations around the country dedicated to making advances in cancer treatment for people aged 15 to 39.
Since the 1970s, survival rates doubled for the overall population of cancer fighters. In contrast, adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer patients still have the same survival rates as in 1975. These rates may be due to delayed diagnosis, fewer clinical trials performed with young patients, and health insurance issues. The Young Adult Alliance facilitates new research for this important community and advocacy organizations can guide the agendas of these groups to solve problems involving fertility, careers, and education for young patients. Essentially, it does for the AYA community what the Oncofertility Consortium does for fertility.
I had the opportunity to attend this exciting event with the Oncofertility Consortium’s Patient Navigator, Kristin Smith. Many of the advocates at the event are, themselves, survivors of AYA cancer and really brought their enthusiasm to the meeting. The celebrity speaker for the event, Ethan Zohn, is no exception to that statement. Famous for his career as a professional soccer player, winner of the TV show Survivor: Africa, and beating Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a short-haired Zohn pumped up the crowd before his weekend run at the New York City Marathon.
The event allowed us to meet up with old friends from Fertile Hope, I’m Too Young for This!, Bright Pink, Imerman Angels, Cancer Legal Resource Center, and Tamika & Friends. In addition, we met representatives from other research, education, and advocacy groups that we will highlight in the coming months.