Cancer as a young adult

Photo of young adults socializing

Patients in their 20s and 30s face unique challenges

“Congratulations, Class of 2023!”

“You’re hired!”

“You may now kiss the bride!”

“It’s a boy!”

These are some things you expect to hear when you’re a young adult. Your 20s and 30s are the years when you’re supposed to focus on your education, your career, your family and, most importantly, figure out who you are and what you want the rest of your life to look like.

“You have cancer.”

A few words can bring all your life plans to a screeching halt. Suddenly, your priorities shift from school, dating and work to things like chemo, fatigue and managing the emotions of cancer. And who knows how to do that when you’re just starting to figure out your life?

That’s where the Young Adult Program at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center comes in. We’re an extra hand to help guide you through the additional challenges you may face as a young adult with cancer.

What services do we offer?


One of the biggest differences of being a young adult receiving a cancer diagnosis is that, most likely, you don’t know anyone else who has been through what you’re experiencing. The YA program helps connect you with people your age who just… get it. We have built an incredible community of young adults at all stages in their cancer journey. Every month, we host multiple events so our members can come together, learn from each other and continue to grow stronger connections.

Young Adult Program at Roswell Park

Our Young Adult Program offers nationally designated cancer care, plus support services specifically designed to help you and your family now.

Learn more

Mental health counseling

The YA program has a dedicated psychologist who provides specialized care and understanding for the unique challenges of being a young adult with cancer. Other Roswell Park providers from our Social Work and Child Life teams can assist with all your needs, like lodging or transportation, disability assistance and talking to your children about cancer.

Fertility preservation

Before you begin your treatment, it’s important to learn about how it may impact your fertility. Our Medical Director has an expertise in oncofertility and can empower you with information about your risk and options. We also act as a liaison between Buffalo IVF and your primary oncology team to provide more coordinated care.

Integrative services

Our team knows how important your life outside of cancer is to you. We know how challenging it can be to manage your appointments, side effects, responsibilities and relationships during treatment. Our program coordinator can guide you through the ups and downs of your cancer experience. Anything you need a hand with, from completing the never-ending paperwork, learning how to draw on eyebrows, and telling your friends how they can actually help. They will be with you from day one and remain a member of your team into survivorship, so you will always have a familiar face and someone to rely on for support. They can connect you with services for the little day-to-day things, like house cleaning and finding skincare products for your newly sensitive skin. Our coordinator can also link you with other Roswell Park services, like Nutrition, Financial Assistance, Physical Therapy, Legal Care, the 11 Day Power Play Cancer Resource Center and the Elevate Salon.

Mental health counseling, fertility preservation and integrative services for the Young Adult Program are Quality-of-Life Programs funded by the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation. These programs are made possible by the generous donors who choose to support Roswell Park and dedicate their time, efforts and finances toward enhancing programs like these to ease the burden of cancer on patients and their loved ones.

If you are a young adult that has been impacted by cancer, you may be looking for a community that can understand your needs and provide the support that’s important to you. “You have cancer” may not be something you were expecting to hear, but we can walk by your side as you experience the highs, lows, and everything in between that cancer will bring your way. And we’ll be at your side to hear something else… the sweet sound of the Victory Bell.

If you would like to learn more or connect with our Young Adult Program, contact our Young Adult Program Coordinator, Ashley King, at 716-845-1664 or