Social Media and the Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Patient with Cancer

Over 70,000 adolescent and young adults (AYA) aged 15 to 39 years are diagnosed with cancer each year in the US. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has identified AYA cancer patients as a unique population.

The most common cancers in this age group include tumors typically seen in pediatric patients such as acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and brain tumors, as well as cancers more typically seen in adult patients such as breast cancer and melanoma. In addition, some cancers have their highest incidence in AYA patients, such as Hodgkin Lymphoma, testicular cancer, and bone tumors. AYA patients face additional unique issues due to their age, not just questions about treatment choices due to lack of data but also questions about fertility, relationships, loss of autonomy, and interruptions in school/work with potentially significant financial complications. This age group also has very high rates of social media usage with up to 90 % of adults aged 18 to 29 using social networking sites. In this review, we will describe the use of social media in AYAs with cancer and highlight some of the online resources for AYAs.

Current hematologic malignancy reports. 2016 Feb 18 [Epub ahead of print]

Miguel-Angel Perales, Emily K Drake, Naveen Pemmaraju, William A Wood

Adult Bone Marrow Transplant Service, Department of Medicine, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, 1275 York Avenue, Box 298, New York, NY, 10065, USA.  Independent Healthcare Consultant, Halifax, NS, Canada.  Department of Leukemia, MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of Texas, Unit 428, PO Box 301402, Houston, TX, 77230-1402, USA. Clinical Research, Leukemia, Lymphoma, and Myeloma Program, and Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplantation Program, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Physicians Office Building, 170 Manning Drive, 3rd Floor, Chapel Hill, NC, 27516, USA.