NCCN Guidelines for Patients
: Caring for Adolescents and Young Adults
How to use this booklet
Who should read this booklet?
This booklet is designed for adolescent and young
adult (AYA) patients dealing with cancer. It may also
be useful for caregivers, family, and friends who want
to assist them. Reading this booklet at home may help
you absorb what your doctors have said and prepare for
treatment. As you read, you may find it helpful to create
a list of questions to ask your doctor.
Where should I start reading?
That depends on what you need to know! Each topic
is described at the start of Parts 1 through 9. Page
numbers are listed so you can flip right to information
you need. Your treatment team can also point out the
sections that apply to you and provide you with more
Does the whole booklet apply to me?
According to the National Cancer Institute, an adolescent
or young adult is anyone between the ages of 15 and 39.
That’s a pretty big range, so not all of the information in
this booklet will apply to every young person with cancer
(for example, if you’re still in school you might not need
information on how to deal with cancer in the workplace).
Feel free to skip over sections that don’t apply to your
And always, please keep in mind that this booklet does
not replace the knowledge and suggestions of your
doctors. The first and most important rule of dealing with
cancer is to communicate openly and honestly with your
treatment team. They are there to help.
Help! I don’t know these words!
This booklet includes many medical words that describe
cancer, tests, and treatments. These are words that you
will likely hear your treatment team use in the months
and years ahead. Most of the information may be new to
you, and it may be a lot to learn. Don’t get discouraged.
Keep reading and review the information.
Words that you may not know are defined in the text
or in the sidebar. Words with sidebar definitions are
underlined when first used on a page. All definitions are
also listed in
A cancer dictionary
in Part 11. Acronyms—
words made by using the first letter of other words, such
as AYA for “adolescents and young adults”—are spelled
out the first time they are used.