In response to the urgent demand for expert guidance during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, six non-profit Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) cancer advocacy organizations have launched CovidAYACancer.org, a comprehensive online resource for young people with cancer and the health professionals who treat them.
Teen Cancer America (TCA), Stupid Cancer, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Cancer and Careers, Lacuna Loft and CureSearch have formed a unique alliance with leading oncology specialists worldwide, including Dr. Craig Nichols, Dr. Archie Bleyer and Dr. Stu Seigel, to develop the global website. CovidAYACancer.org will be an all-in-one repository for critical information specifically benefitting AYA cancer patients, patient advocates and medical professionals working with this unique population.
Young people with cancer must endure increased isolation due to the public health crisis and state mandated shelter-in-place guidelines further exacerbating the already extraordinary circumstances they face.
“This initiative will provide vitally important assistance to patients and their families, as well as to medical and non-medical oncology professionals,” said alliance spokesperson and cancer survivor Mallory Casperson, founder and CEO of Lacuna Loft. “We are deeply grateful to each of our partners for coming together so quickly to contribute to the CovidAYACancer website project offering guidance on where to find supportive programs.”
Oncologists in the AYA cancer field have exceptional challenges treating immunocompromised patients who are at elevated levels of risk as a result of COVID-19. They are faced with trying to keep virus-free patients safe while determining and managing the complex treatments required for those that are or have been infected by the virus.
“The global pandemic is profoundly changing cancer care delivery,” said Dr. Craig Nichols, an internationally recognized specialist in germ cell tumors. “We have to deliver high-quality care while stopping the virus, assuring good patient outcomes while also protecting the oncology workforce and managing capacity during high demand. It is so gratifying that the AYA oncology community is providing ‘bottom up’ innovative solutions.”
CovidAYACancer.org is designed to give AYA cancer patients and survivors unprecedented access to information and services such as financial resources, virtual events, employment and psychosocial support. It will provide access to online supportive programs and guidance to patients and their families.
The site will also provide extensive and constantly updated professional guidelines for doctors and frontline health teams. Drs. Nichols, Bleyer and Siegel have been consulting with colleagues around the world about best practices during this unprecedented health crisis, as normal protocols for oncological treatment have changed significantly.
“This has been a collaborative effort by a remarkable group of experts who are passionate about the care, treatment and psychological wellbeing of AYA cancer patients,” said Simon Davies, Executive Director of Teen Cancer America.
The CovidAYACancer alliance is supported by international pharmaceutical company Servier, which is providing coordination and technical support. Marketing and digital design has been provided by KWT Global. Media and communications services are provided by French|West|Vaughan.