Adolescent and young adult cancer patients face a unique set of challenges. They may be working toward completing their education, applying to college or pursing job training. They’re often beginning their careers and may be starting a family or planning for one. Cancer makes all of these more difficult and more complicated.
That’s why MD Anderson offers the Adolescent and Young Adult Program (AYA Program). The program serves patients age 15-29, whether in active treatment or post-therapy survivorship. Through the AYA Program, they get access to counseling and care that helps them manage the milestones and challenges that come with being a cancer patient at such a pivotal time of life. Read more about the AYA Program.
The Arts in Medicine Program has one primary goal – to help young patients feel better. The program connects pediatric patients and their families to visual arts, music, theater, and dance. Activities include community collaborations, large-scale projects, and one-on-one experiences. These sessions give patients a sense of control and purpose, reduce anxiety and pain, make patients more comfortable in the hospital environment, and build community among patients and families.
The Arts in Medicine program also offers music therapy to pediatric patients. Music therapy can help reduce stress and anxiety, build confidence, decrease pain and provide patients with positive social experiences. Our music therapists offer innovative care to patients in partnership with other members of the patient's care and support team.
The Children’s Cancer Hospital’s summer camps are making a return in 2022. After a two-year hiatus, camp registration is now open to Children’s Cancer Hospital patients and their siblings age four to 18. Families must complete a separate application for each child. Volunteer counselor applications are also being accepted.
Through the support of generous donors and valued partnerships with local businesses and organizations, these camps offer a sense of normalcy, both during and after cancer treatment. They also provide an opportunity for attendees to join a community of other children and families who truly understand how they feel.
COVID-19 safety protocols for the camps have been established by hospital leadership, clinical staff and the Camps and Special Events team, in consultation with our Family Council. As part of the safety protocols, the number of campers will be limited and families must provide their own transportation to and from each camp experience.
Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Family Alliance is made up of parent consultants who have or had a child with cancer. They can help with day-to-day issues, like parking passes and grocery store gift cards. Candlelighters also holds a weekly parent support group, every Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Ronald McDonald Family Waiting Room. The group also offers academic scholarships to pediatric cancer patients and survivors. For more information, contact our parent consultants, Jaynie Hutchinson and Roseanna Daly, at 713-792-4891.
A cancer diagnosis doesn’t mean young people should give up on their goals. The Children’s Cancer Hospital offers Career and Vocational Counseling to help patients get ready for college, enter the workforce and even advance their careers. Young people can get help applying to college and vocational programs; preparing for the GED or college entrance exams; exploring different career paths; and applying for financial aid. We can also help college students get a leave of absence or reduced academic schedule, or obtain special accommodations. For young adults, we can help with job searches, resume writing, and interviewing skills. Contact the career and vocational counseling program at 713-792-6767.
The Child, Adolescent and Young Adult Life Program is here to help young people and their families. Our team of specialists and assistants understands the impact of cancer, painful procedures and hospital stays. Their job is to reduce this impact and help improve coping skills. They do this by building relationships with patients and families; providing them with education and support; hosting events and activities; and giving them opportunities to express themselves.
Child Adolescent and Young Adult Life specialists usually meet patients during one of their first trips to the hospital. From there, they play a key role in each patient’s care, including:
- Introducing patients to the hospital in a friendly, non-threatening way
- Educating them about their disease, diagnosis and treatment
- Teaching patients about procedures in age-appropriate ways
- Showing children, adolescents and young adults way to cope during medical procedures
- Providing emotional support to patients and families during these procedures
- Visiting patients at the bedside to provide activities and the opportunity to talk
- Offering young people a sense of control by giving them chance to make choices whenever possible
- Providing the opportunity to play and socialize by staffing our inpatient and outpatient playrooms
- Coordinating special events and activities for patients, siblings and parents
- Helping parents understand how cancer is impacting their child’s development and well-being
- Helping siblings and other family members understand a child’s illness
The Child, Adolescent and Young Adult Life Program offers practicum opportunities. Internships and Shadowing opportunities are not being offered at this time.
The Children’s Art Project is a special creative arts program where patients' designs are incorporated into greeting cards, jewelry and other products. Proceeds from product sales benefit patient-focused programs at the Children's Cancer Hospital and MD Anderson.
myCancerConnection is a cancer support community that offers free, one-on-one phone support. Trained survivor and caregiver volunteers are available to share their cancer experience with you. Support is open to patients, caregivers and survivors regardless of where they receive treatment
The Pediatric Education and Creative Arts Program is here to meet the educational needs of our patients. Our certified, master-level teachers work with young people from pre-k to 12th grade. We have an accredited on-site private school, tutoring for students who remain enrolled in their regular school, and support for students who are ready to return to their class. We also offer tutoring for AP courses, the PSAT and English as a Second Language for both patients and families. Patients can also participate in painting, pottery, yoga, music therapy and more. We take students on field trips to local attractions and host special presentations from the Houston Zoo, the Museum of Natural Science and others. Contact the school at:
- Phone: 713-745-5059
- Fax: 713-792-0608
- Email: email@example.com
Due to our response to COVID-19, all blood donations at MD Anderson
Blood Donor Center locations are being held by appointment only.