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Young Adult Program (YAP)

  • Young Adult Program conference attendees
  • About the Young Adult Program (YAP)

    Young adults with cancer face very different challenges than patients who were diagnosed earlier in childhood or later in adulthood, such as:

    • Adjusting to a cancer diagnosis as a young adult
    • Communicating with peers, family, and caregivers
    • Building and maintaining intimate relationships
    • Changes in body image and physical appearance
    • Coping with uncertainty
    • Confronting losses
    • Feeling alone
    • Challenges to personal identity
    • Promoting personal resilience

    The Young Adult Program at Dana-Farber (YAP@DFCI) provides emotional support services, opportunities to meet other young adults receiving treatment, and educational programs aimed at enhancing knowledge and self-advocacy skills. "Young adult" is loosely defined as anyone age 18 to early 40s. If you are unsure whether your age qualifies, don’t hesitate to contact us to see if our programs may be appropriate for you.

    Our mission is to provide clinical services and programs that validate and support the needs of young adults with cancer. We are committed to:

    • Easing the emotional burden of living and coping with cancer
    • Empowering young adults to become active participants in their cancer treatment
    • Providing emotional and social support in the form of educational workshops, conferences, opportunities to network with other young adults with cancer, and clinical mental health services

    We also ensure that young adults are aware of — and have access to — programs provided through other offices, divisions, and departments within Dana-Farber.

    YAP@DFCI is part of our Adult Psychosocial Oncology Program. It is also part of an international initiative to recognize and address the unique circumstances related to lifestyle, work, school, family life, and emotional development that young adults face when living with cancer.

    Hearing from Young Adults at Dana-Farber

  • Life Shift: The emotional side of cancer for a young adult
    Young adult patients Paul and Christina share their unique knowledge on the need for and ways to get emotional support.


  • Christina Dixon, who was 22 when diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, looks back on her experience coming to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute as a young adult.


  • The YAP Team

    The Young Adult Program team, part of the Department of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care, is a core group of staff dedicated to coordinating support and programs for young adults.

    Cristina Pozo-Kaderman, PhD, Program Director

    Paige Malinowski, Program Manager

    Annelise Ryan, MPH, Research and Program Coordinator