AYA Cancer Chat: Life Interrupted

Listen in as adolescents and young adults (AYA) from the Cancer Center at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia discuss their experiences with cancer diagnosis and treatment in this podcast, AYA Cancer Chat: Life Interrupted. You can also download these podcasts in the iTunes Store

Chemo Brain: Cancer therapy causes many side effects, but forgetfulness may not be one everyone is prepared for. In this podcast, cancer survivors and current patients talk about what chemo brain means to them and the annoying ways their forgetfulness interrupted their lives.

Hospital Food: Young adult cancer survivors and current patients talk about how cancer treatment affected their appetites. They discuss their cravings, foods that helped them feel better during treatment, their favorite (and least-favorite) CHOP cafeteria meals, and those foods they can’t even look at today without feeling sick!


Staff Relationships: Why do cancer survivors and patients have strong relationships with some of their doctors and nurses, but not others? What can healthcare team members say and do that may help during cancer treatment? Young cancer survivors answer these questions to help others feel empowered to get what they need during therapy.


Cancer Card: Cancer is a very serious diagnosis, but most adolescents and young adults have at least a few memories of when they used their cancer diagnosis to do something fun — otherwise known as “playing the cancer card.” Young adult cancer survivors and patients share their stories of when they (and their family members) used their diagnosis to their advantage.


Appearance: Yes, hair loss is typically part of cancer treatment, but there are other ways therapy can affect how you look. Young cancer survivors and patients open up about the physical scarring of cancer therapy to help newly diagnosed AYAs (and those moving beyond their battle with cancer) learn to support one another.


Ask the Psychologist: Adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer survivors and patients talk with CHOP Cancer Center psychologist Lisa Schwartz, PhD about their pressing questions and concerns: how to talk with healthcare providers about the effects of cancer treatment, infertility and dealing with a secondary cancer diagnosis.


Germaphobe! Cancer survivors are often more conscious about sticking to good hygiene habits and keeping germs away. Learn about what it’s like to live with a compromised immune system and get tips from AYA cancer survivors and patients for staying healthy without being overly afraid of germs.

Being an AYA at a Children’s Hospital: Sometimes, being a young adult in a children’s hospital can be a frustrating experience — the cartoons, the tiny chairs in the waiting rooms, the loud toys. But there are some positives, too, which young adult cancer survivors and current patients from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia are happy to talk about.

Ask the AYA Oncologist: Dr. Dava Szalda is the guest in this episode, answering questions from our AYA hosts. Dr. Szalda is an oncologist who cares for patients at both CHOP and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP). She sees patients through their transition from pediatric to adult healthcare – a change that takes them from under the watchful eye of mom and dad to a new world where independence and self-advocacy is key.

All Things Needles: Port. Broviac. PIC line. “This is my good vein.” These are words that cancer patients throw around on the regular. What does it all mean? What hurts, what doesn’t? What are the best ways to get through dreaded needle sticks? We cover it all in this episode of AYA Cancer Chat.

Yoga, Meditation and Acupuncture: Engaging the mind, body and spirit during cancer treatment can help some patients deal with anxiety, pain and other symptoms of their illness or side effects of treatment. Integrative health is a new offering at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where a team of providers works with patients to incorporate mediation, acupuncture, yoga and other alternative approaches to healing into the larger treatment plan. Listen as CHOP experts talk to our AYA panel about how these therapies help to treat not just the disease, but the whole person.

Independence for AYA Cancer Patients: The adolescent and young adult years are defined by new independence. A cancer diagnosis often strips it away in some form, for some time. In this episode, our AYA panelists talk about what it was like to lose some freedom while their friends gained more and more, how they navigate the balance of needing help and needing to be on their own, and what it’s like to experience cancer at different stages of adolescence and young adulthood.

"Don’t Tell Me I’m Brave": When friends and family find out a young person in their life is diagnosed with cancer, they often scramble for the “right” thing to say. They always have the best intentions, but don’t always hit the mark. Here are some of the most irritating comments our AYA panelists have heard, and suggestions for alternatives that are way more helpful, and way less likely to come out wrong.

Cancer in College: College is supposed to be a time for new beginnings, new friends and new independence, not a new cancer diagnosis. Our young adult patients talk about the impact of cancer diagnosis and treatment on their college experience, and how they coped with unexpected challenges.

What I Wish I’d Known: There are a lot of unknowns at the start of cancer treatment. How bad will I feel? When will my hair fall out? How will my life change? Young adults who have been through it all share what they’d wish they’d known about becoming a cancer patient, including the unexpected positives.

Friendships: Teenagers and young adults with cancer discuss how their friendships were impacted by their cancer diagnosis. Hear how they maneuvered the complicated task of bringing their friends along for the ride of diagnosis and therapy, when and how they chose to share what was happening in their lives, and much more.