NCCN Guidelines for Patients
: Caring for Adolescents and Young Adults
Part 1: But I’m too young to have cancer!
Strictly speaking, benign tumors aren’t really cancer. But
they can cause problems if they grow so large they press
on nearby organs or damage healthy tissues. In addition,
some benign tumors are considered pre-cancerous,
meaning that they may progress to cancer. Fortunately,
once removed, most benign tumors do not come back.
Malignant—from Latin words meaning “badly born”—
refers to true cancers. The cells of a malignant tumor
tend to be very different from those of normal tissue, and
are likely to invade nearby organs and metastasize to
other parts of the body.
This is not your grandmother’s cancer
It’s estimated that only 5% of cancer cases in the U.S.
are diagnosed in people between 15 and 39 years of
age. Yet cancer is the leading cause of death among
AYAs. While many of the cancers diagnosed in AYAs are
treatable and even curable, survival rates for AYAs have
not improved to the same extent that they have for young
children and older adults.