This week is Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Cancer Awareness week, April 4th – April 8th. Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Awareness Week was created to help shine a light on the unique challenges that AYA cancer survivors face each day. The Appendix Cancer Pseudomyxoma Peritonei (ACPMP) Research Foundation would like to share some facts and resources to educate and help raise awareness.
Facts and Stats¹:
- Adolescent and Young Adult cancer patients (AYA) range from 15-39 years old.
- 89,500 young adults are diagnosed with cancer every year in the U.S.
- AYAs account for about 5% of cancers.
- Young cancer survivors are at risk for long term side effects from chemotherapy.
- Appendix cancer and PMP affect men and women almost equally. The age at diagnosis ranges from teens to late in life, with most individuals diagnosed in their 40’s and 50’s.
- Cancer of the appendix is on the rise in younger patients with appendicitis.
Appendix Cancer and Adolescents / Young Adults:
In 2021, the Appendix Cancer Pseudomyxoma Peritonei Research Foundation co-hosted an educational webinar with Dr. Andreana Holowatyj of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, “Appendix Cancer in Young Adults: A Distinct Disease Burden”. As the incidence of appendiceal cancer continues to rise with causes unknown (incidence rates of individuals of all ages with appendix cancer have risen 232% between 2000 and 2016 in the United States²), little is currently known about the risk factors and etiologies of this rare malignancy—particularly among young individuals. There is currently little knowledge of the unique appendix cancer burden among individuals younger than age 50 years at diagnosis.
Click here to watch a video from Targeted Oncology where Dr. Andrea Holowatyj discusses key takeaways for community oncologists about early-onset appendiceal cancer and its management.
In January, ACPMP expressed concern for an “antibiotics first” approach by having Dr. Laura Lambert, the Chair of our Medical Advisory Board, write a Letter to the Editor to the authors of the article “Diagnosis and Management of Acute Appendicitis in Adults”. ACPMP believes that certain cases of acute appendicitis treated with an “antibiotics first” approach could result inadvertently in a delayed or perhaps even a missed diagnosis of appendix cancer.
Research published by Dr. Andreana Holowatyj:
- Spectrum of Somatic Cancer Gene Variations Among Adults With Appendiceal Cancer by Age
- Early-Onset Appendiceal Cancer Survival by Race or Ethnicity in the United States
Resources for AYA Cancer Survivors and Patients:
- Emotional Support for Young People with Cancer
- Elephants and Tea Magazine: A community to help with social isolation through storytelling and digital programming so those faced with cancer know they are not alone.
- Young Adult Survivors United: The virtual health and wellness community for young adult cancer survivors to cope and thrive with emotional/mental health, social, financial, and spiritual support; the comprehensive care model that enhances their quality of life.
- “Between Two Kingdoms” by Suleika Jaouad: A searing, deeply moving memoir of illness and recovery that traces one young woman’s journey from diagnosis to remission to re-entry into “normal” life—from the author of the Life, Interrupted column in The New York Times
- Stupid Cancer Resources: Stupid Cancer helps to empower everyone affected by adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer by ending isolation and building community so that everyone in the AYA community is supported, understood, and accepted.