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What we are really talking about in the AYA movement is patient-centred care.

It is about creating an understanding of that patient in the context of their biology, social circumstance, geography, etc.

Your age is important because of your developmental stage, and it's really about the context of who you are as a cancer patient.

There wasn't a known way to specialize in this population.

AACR which is the American Association of Cancer Research is talking about it.

The Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG) is talking about it.

Part 1 of a 3-part series: I recently attended the first annual meeting of the Society of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology (SAYAO) held at the University of California, Irvine (UC Irvine) in partnership with the Hyundai Cancer Institute at the Children's Hospital of Orange County (CHOC Children's). Leonard Sender, the Medical Director of the Hyundai Cancer Institute at CHOC Children's; Pediatric Subspecialty Faculty Division Chief of Oncology; and Director of Clinical Operations and Program Development at the UC Irvine Health's Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. Sender is regarded as one of the leading advocacy pioneers of the adolescent and young adult (AYA) oncology movement. Sender developed the joint Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Program at CHOC Children's and UC Irvine Health and is currently the chairman of the United States' largest AYA patient advocacy group: Stupid Cancer ( So, before I went to medical school I knew some of these patients and got fascinated that cancer was happening to young people who were sort of my age. Cancer was a really rare thing to happen in this age group.

Emily: Thank you for taking the time to sit down and speak with me, Dr. Can you briefly tell me about why you became interested in the AYA cancer movement and what motivated you to become one of its leading advocacy pioneers? Sender: I'm the son of a family practitioner physician in South Africa and I got to know some young adults during my adolescence who were diagnosed with cancer. I sort of realized that something was unique about them because I kept thinking about my future and I had a future that I could think about.

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