NCCN Guidelines for Patients® | Caring for Adolescents and Young Adults - page 12

NCCN Guidelines for Patients
: Caring for Adolescents and Young Adults
Version 2013
Part 1: But I’m too young to have cancer!
Women younger than age 40 who develop breast
cancer are more likely to have a family history of
the disease and are more likely than older patients
to develop tumors that do not respond to hormone
Melanoma in young adults is less likely to be caused
by sun exposure and also tends to be less severe
than melanoma in older people.
Young adults with colorectal cancer are more likely
to have inherited mutations and more aggressive
Cancer treatment in AYAs is also complicated by the fact
that their bodies are still changing. The years between 15
and 40 are filled with physical and hormonal changes that
affect not only how cancer develops, but also how the
body responds to various cancer treatments. As a result,
a treatment plan that works well in children or older adults
with a particular cancer may be less effective for patients
in their 20s or 30s.
On the plus side, younger patients are often in better
overall physical shape than older patients, which means
they can tolerate more aggressive treatment than
someone who is middle-aged or elderly. In fact, young
adults with cancer are ideal candidates for clinical trials
of new cancer treatments. (More on that topic in Part 5.)
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