Group leaders: Dr. Joel Milam and Dr. David Freyer
Young adult (YA) cancer survivors include pediatric (diagnosed age 0-14) and adolescent and young adult cancer survivors (AYAs diagnosed age 15-39). Collectively, YA survivors experience numerous physiological and psychosocial challenges related to their developmental life stage. Typical medical problems resulting from cancer and its treatment, called late effects, may include persistence or development of congestive heart failure and other forms of cardiovascular disease, pulmonary fibrosis, musculoskeletal disabilities, infertility, and secondary malignancies, among other health issues. Further, young adult survivors experience significant emotional distress, social isolation, disrupted education, lower quality of life, and financial hardship, often resulting in delayed emergence as young adults and the well-recognized “failure to launch.” Research is needed to better understand the specific issues faced by YA survivors, and to develop effective mechanisms for the provision of supportive care for this age group.
Recognizing this pressing need for research in this area, this group brought together researchers and clinicians to expand YA cancer survivorship research at USC to link and leverage existing clinical and academic resources. Interdisciplinary expertise includes epidemiological, behavioral, health care services, clinical research, and clinical programs focused on this population. These team-building efforts resulted in the formation of the USC Center for Young Adult Cancer Survivorship, an Organized Research Unit within the Keck School of Medicine. Current efforts are to form structured, interdisciplinary research collaborations with the potential to secure new research funding, undertake studies of high impact, innovate clinical care, and substantially contribute to this important field.
Joel Milam, PhD
Associate Professor, Preventive Medicine