SIDEBAR: Should ‘AYA’ Be an Oncology Subspecialty?

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The lag in improvement in survival rates for adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with cancer and a greater awareness of the unique issues they face has prompted discussion about whether “AYA” should become a new oncology subspecialty.1

“Yes and no,” according to Archie Bleyer, MD. “I am going to say more yes than no, given that evidence suggests there are now programs trying to develop that approach. In fact, there are now fellowships in AYA oncology,” he noted. “I don’t know that it will ever get to the point where it will be a recognized, national discipline. But I do think there will be centers of excellence that will have the AYA oncology discipline, with training programs and graduates who will go on to focus on that age group for their careers,” he said.

“I certainly support the idea of specialized training for providers who see a lot of young adults,” Brandon Hayes-Lattin, MD, stated. “I think it is still a dream to think that there would be a subspecialty—that there would be an AYA oncologist. But I think that at least in the short term, we have demonstrated the need for specialized training.” ■


1. Williams BA: Teen with cancer getting tailor-made care. The Record, January 7, 2012. Available at Accessed February 27, 2012.

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