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Welcome to Critical Mass

Each year approximately 70,000 adolescents and young adults between 15 and 39 years of age are diagnosed with cancer in the United States. The National Cancer Institute reports that cancer is the leading cause of disease-related death for this age group.

Unfortunately, they have no medical “home” and too often find themselves in a cancer care system designed for older adults or young children. These settings do not meet the unique needs of adolescents and young adults which can negatively impact their care and life long after cancer:

  • Adolescents and young adults have seen no improvements in survival rates in 59% of cancers compared to older and younger patients with similar diagnoses.
  • Approximately 50% are never told that cancer treatment will impact their fertility and they do not meet strict insurance requirements for fertility coverage.
  • They do not receive developmentally appropriate mental health support which can hinder medical compliance. More than 40% report an unmet counseling need a year after diagnosis.
  • They do not qualify for government relief programs which are designed to help young children, low-income, elderly, and disabled cancer patients and not the “healthy” young adult.

Critical Mass: The Young Adult Cancer Alliance is a community-powered advocacy organization on a mission to ensure adolescents and young adults have no barriers to survive and thrive after a cancer diagnosis. We are working in community hospitals, cancer centers, and Washington, DC to transform adolescent and young adult cancer care in the United States.