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Treatment and Clinical Trials


Cancer is not a single disease with a one-size-fits-all approach to treatment. If possible, it’s important to be treated at a cancer center or medical center that specializes in treating the type of cancer you have. Adolescents or young adults with certain kinds of cancer may do better if treated with regimens tailored to younger children rather than those designed for older adults. Talk with your doctor about getting a second opinion and whether being treated on a clinical trial is a possibility.

Clinical trials are an important treatment option for cancer patients of all ages since they provide the most up-to-date treatments. Currently, only about 2 percent of patients 20 to 39 years old are treated in clinical trials, compared with more than 60 percent of children under the age of 15. Survival rates for pediatric cancer have increased dramatically in the last few decades. Participation of more adolescents and young adults in clinical trials will help improve treatment, survival, and understanding of the types of cancers that occur in patients in this age group. 

Learn about different types of treatment and about clinical trials that may be an option for you.

Cancer Research Now: Fertility Issues for Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer

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The effect of treatment on fertility is a special concern for young cancer patients. An oncologist, a patient advocate, and young adult cancer survivors discuss options for preserving fertility, current research questions, and policy concerns.


On this page:
Biology of Cancers in Young Adults
Cancer Treatments
Clinical Trials
Fertility Issues
Find a Doctor or Treatment Facility
Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Biology of Cancers in Young Adults

Cancer Treatments

Clinical Trials

  • Clinical Trials Offer a Path to Better Care for AYAs with Cancer

    The slow progress against adolescent and young adult cancers is due, in part, to this populations lack of participation in clinical trials. Researchers are testing innovative ways to enroll more AYAs in clinical trials—using expanded access, patient navigation, community outreach, and collaborations between academic and community doctors.

  • Overcoming Age Limits in Cancer Clinical Trials

    Adolescents, young adults, and the elderly lag far behind other age groups when it comes to enrolling in clinical trials. Their participation is critical to advancing effective therapies for these age groups.

  • How to Find a Cancer Treatment Trial: A 10-Step Guide

    This guide will help you to learn about cancer treatment trials that are of potential benefit to you and to decide whether to participate in a particular trial.

  • Search for Clinical Trials

    NCI's List of Cancer Clinical Trials.

  • Paying for Clinical Trials

    Information about who is expected to pay for what in a cancer clinical trial, as well as tips for working with insurance companies.

Fertility Issues

  • So Others May Benefit: Young Cancer Patients and Survivors Take Part in Oncofertility Research

    Finding young people willing to take part in clinical trials can be difficult. Researchers are using new and traditional ways to connect with and enroll young patients in clinical studies to assess and offset infertility caused by cancer and its treatment.

  • Preserving Fertility While Battling Cancer

    Some oncologists neglect to discuss the possibility of treatment-related infertility with patients of reproductive age. Researchers are developing decision aids to help patients make an informed, carefully considered decision about fertility.

  • Sexuality and Reproductive Issues (PDQ®)
    [ patient ] [ health professional ]
    Expert-reviewed information summary about factors that may affect sexual functioning in people with cancer. Fertility issues related to cancer treatment are also discussed.
  • Sexuality and Reproductive Issues

    Check for clinical trials about cancer treatment-related sexual function problems and treatment-related reproductive issues such as infertility.

Find a Doctor or Treatment Facility

  • How To Find a Doctor or Treatment Facility If You Have Cancer

    A fact sheet that offers suggestions for choosing a physician and facility for cancer treatment.

  • NCI-Designated Cancer Centers

    NCI-Designated Cancer Centers develop and translate scientific knowledge from promising laboratory discoveries into new treatments for cancer patients. They are at the forefront of NCI-supported efforts at universities and cancer research centers across the United States. Find a center near you and learn about their research capabilities and patient services.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine