National Cancer Institute NCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research News
November 3, 2009 • Volume 6 / Number 21

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Cancer.gov Update

Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Portal Launched

Screenshot of 'Adolescents and Young Adults With Cancer' Portal

NCI has launched a new Web portal that provides a single access point to information for adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer patients aged 15 to 39. About 70,000 AYAs are diagnosed with cancer each year in the United States.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in this age group. Yet, substantially less attention has been given to young adults with cancer than to children and older adults, and improvement in the survival rate of young adults has not kept pace with that achieved in other patient groups. Reasons for this lack of progress include issues specific to this age group: differences in biology or intolerance of therapy, delay in diagnosis, physicians unfamiliar with the disease, a lack of both available clinical trials and access to these trials, and, often, the psychosocial condition of the patient. Additionally, AYA patients often have special concerns that differ from those of older cancer patients, such as preserving fertility, being able to obtain health insurance and access health care following a cancer diagnosis, and feeling isolated because of a lack of peers who can relate to fighting cancer at their age.

The portal was developed in response to a report by the Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Progress Review Group (PRG). This PRG, a collaborative effort between NCI and the Lance Armstrong Foundation, was followed by Closing the Gap: A Strategic Plan, developed to address recommendations in the PRG report. The AYA cancer portal is designed to reach newly diagnosed AYA patients with evidence-based information that will help them learn more about their treatment options and participate in treatment-related decisions, explore clinical trial options, get emotional/coping support, and learn about organizations that provide information and support to AYAs.

The portal can be accessed at http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/aya.

A New Face for Smokefree.gov

Screenshot of new Smokefree.gov Website

The Smokefree.gov Web site, which provides a variety of resources designed to help smokers quit, now has a fresh new look and interactive features consistent with its sister site, Smokefree Women

The update includes bold colors, new images, and a poll on the homepage to engage users, as well as expanded content and new topic areas inspired by questions commonly asked by site visitors. Expanded topics include the benefits of quitting, secondhand smoke, and medications to help smokers through the quitting process. Users will find two new sections, on stress and depression. Both sections contain online quizzes that can help users evaluate feelings of depression, with general treatment recommendations and a list of resources to help them seek professional help for stronger feelings of depression.

Smokefree Women Launches Campaign on Twitter

Smokefree Women, a Web site that provides evidence-based information and assistance to help women trying to quit smoking, has launched a new campaign on Twitter. The campaign will use the social networking site to engage women in the conversation about quitting smoking and will serve as a resource for quick tips and support tailored to women. The new campaign will also provide an opportunity for women to join a support community and take an active approach to their next quit attempt. To join the conversation, follow @SmokefreeWomen

NCI plans to expand the site to include a presence on Facebook—much like Smokefree Women—to increase social support for smokers who are trying to quit. 

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