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About the Young Adult Program

  • Karen Fasciano, PsyD, director of YAP, discusses the unique challenges of living with cancer as a young person, and several young patients share their experiences.

  • Young adults with cancer often face challenges different from those of children and older adults. 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.

    Who is the Young Adult Program for?

    YAP@DFCI provides services for young adult patients being treated at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

    "Young adult" is loosely defined as anyone 18-39 years old. However, if you are out of this age range and consider yourself a young adult, don’t hesitate to contact us to see if our programs may be appropriate for you.

    Behavioral health services

    Our clinicians in Social Work and Psychosocial Oncology have specific expertise working with young adults and addressing emotional challenges such as:

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

    Our services include:

    • Comprehensive assessment of emotional challenges and needs
    • Behavior-related coping skills
    • Individual, couples, and family therapy
    • Sexual health, development, and fertility
    • Medication interventions

    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.

    Karen Fasciano, PsyD, Program Director

    Paige Malinowski, Program Manager

    Annelise Ryan, MPH, Research and Program Coordinator

  • Contact the Young Adult Program

    To schedule an appointment with Adult Psychosocial Oncology or learn more about clinical mental health services:


    To get information about YAP programs, events, or volunteer opportunities: