Teen and Young Adult Cancer Support

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Teens and young adults with cancer face unique challenges that are addressed by the Duke Teen and Young Adult Oncology Program. It assists young people with cancer ages 15 to 29 and their families, from diagnosis through recovery. We offer age-specific medical care, mental health services, peer connection opportunities, and more. Most of the services are free for Duke cancer patients.

Our Locations

Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.

Personalized Cancer Support for Teens and Young Adults

Patient Navigator
You will be assigned a dedicated patient navigator to support you and your family throughout your cancer journey. They provide services specific to your needs and can help identify and evaluate barriers to timely diagnosis and treatment, connect you with peer support groups, and provide information about educational and financial resources that can help with care-related expenses. They continue to assist you after treatment and help you make the transition to adult or continuing medical care.
Medical Family Therapist
Licensed medical family therapists provide ongoing scheduled therapy sessions as well as unscheduled supportive counseling for you and your family members. Our dedicated therapist is a licensed art therapist and is specially trained to assist people ages 15 to 29 who are facing a serious illness.
Other Mental Health Resources
Our psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers can help you and your loved ones cope with emotional, psychological, and relational issues related to your cancer diagnosis. We provide psychological assessments, memory and cognitive testing, psychotherapy, behavioral weight management, treatment for sleep difficulties, stress management education, and more. 

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Sexual Health and Self-Image Services for Young People with Cancer

Fertility Preservation 
Because cancer treatments like chemotherapy can affect eggs and sperm, they may impact your ability to have children in the future. Teen and young adults with cancer have access to Duke fertility specialists who can help you plan for your future. We coordinate your care with your oncologists and schedule services as promptly as possible so that you can save your healthy eggs or sperm before your cancer treatments begin. 
Sexual Health Support
Cancer treatments can impact your sexual health. Our medical family therapists are trained in sex therapy and provide age-appropriate education and counseling. As a Duke patient, you also have access to sexual health services, which offers individual or joint therapy with a partner to address concerns surrounding sexual function, sexual feelings, intimacy, and changes in sexual health.
Self-Image Services 
Our self-image resources can help you adapt to physical changes throughout your cancer journey. We provide makeup and skincare consultations as well as salon services to address hair loss. Our boutiques offer wigs, hats, scarves, and other self-image products.
Duke is one of the few comprehensive cancer centers with dermatologists who provide specialized care for people receiving cancer treatments. They are experts in treating rashes, inflammation, hair and nail reactions, and other side effects of cancer treatment. There is a fee for these services, but your patient navigator can provide information on financial resources to offset the costs.

Cancer Support Groups for Teens and Young Adults

Bobby’s Coaches
Bobby’s Coaches is a one-on-one peer support program for people ages 18 to 29 who are being treated for cancer at Duke. It connects you with peers who were cancer patients. They are trained to help you deal with a variety of issues from communicating with providers to finances and career goals.
Virtual Meetups
Monthly virtual meetups allow you to connect with other Duke teen and young adult cancer patients. 
In-Person Social Events
We regularly offer in-person gatherings and outings for young adults. Your patient navigator can tell you how to get involved. 

Clinical Trials at Duke

Our active research efforts mean you may be eligible to participate in our clinical trials, which provide access to new therapies and new ways to treat cancer before they are approved.

Other Cancer Support Services for Teens and Young Adults

Art Therapy
Individual and group art therapy sessions allow you to create works of art while exploring and expressing your feelings about your cancer diagnosis.
Nutritional Health
Our registered dietitians collaborate with you to make sure you’re well-nourished throughout your cancer treatment and afterward. We help prevent and treat malnutrition, restore digestive health, minimize the side effects of your cancer treatment, and work with you during survivorship.

Physical Well-Being
Our experts can assess and treat a broad range of issues. Recreation therapists help you improve function, manage pain, and promote well-being. Our physical and occupational therapy services ensure physical changes related to cancer don’t get in the way of your daily life. We also offer free personalized physical activity consultations by exercise physiologists and certified trainers. They’ll give you the tools and information you need to self-manage your physical fitness. Exercise classes for people ages 16 and older with cancer are available at the Duke Health & Fitness Center.

Survivorship Services
Our survivorship programs help you and your family transition to life after cancer treatment. We can help you identify a primary care provider and specialty providers, as needed. We then act as a liaison to ensure issues -- including pain, fatigue, depression, anxiety, and increased risk for health problems such as second cancers and heart disease -- are diagnosed and treated promptly.

Best Cancer Hospital in North Carolina

Where you receive your cancer care is important. Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. They are why our cancer program is nationally ranked, and the highest-ranked program in North Carolina, according to U.S. News & World Report for 2023–2024.

Why Choose Duke

Services for the Entire Family
We understand that a cancer diagnosis has a life-changing impact on you and your entire family. That’s why many of our services help your family members as well. For example, we offer them free mental health services, support group participation, and information about resources to assist with lodging and other care-related expenses. Our providers are skilled in effectively communicating with adolescents and young adults diagnosed with cancer, as well as your loved ones. 
Understanding the Impact of Cancer on Teens and Adults
Our dedicated research director leads research efforts on topics related to teen and young adult cancer survivors, such understanding the impact of cancer on peer and family relationships, sexual health, sleep, and cognitive abilities.

This page was medically reviewed on 04/19/2023