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Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer

Adolescents in a library laughing

About 7,800 adolescents and young adults, ages 15-39, are diagnosed with cancer each year in Texas; this is roughly six times the number of cancers diagnosed in children ages 0-14. Approximately 1,000 Texans aged 15-39 die of cancer each year, making cancer the leading cause of disease-related death in this population. Cancers affecting adolescents and young adults differ from those affecting children and older adults. People 15-39 years of age are more likely to be diagnosed with certain cancers, such as Hodgkin lymphoma, melanoma, testicular cancer, thyroid cancer, and sarcomas.

Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Cancer Classification

The adapted classification scheme for cancer in adolescents and young adults (AYAs) is based on the classification scheme proposed by R.D. Barr and colleagues.1 The Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program’s AYA site recode was developed to better define the major cancer sites that affect individuals between 15 and 39 years of age. It is intended to facilitate the reporting of cancer incidence rates and trends.

The AYA cancer data presented in the tables below are classified using the SEER AYA Site Recode/WHO2008 site group variable.2 The data are shown as rates per 100,000 and are presented for ages 15-24 and 25-39 at diagnosis.

Texas Statewide

Age-Adjusted Incidence Rates by Cancer Site and Age at Diagnosis; Major Site Groups and Extended Classification Table

Public Health Region

Age-Adjusted Incidence Rates by Cancer Site and Age at Diagnosis; Major Site Groups for each Public Health Region (PHR)


AYA Footnotes

1 Barr RD, Holowaty EJ, Birch JM. Classification Scheme for tumors diagnosed in adolescents and young adults. Cancer 2006; 106(7):1425-30.

2 Based on ICD-O-3, updated for Hematopoietic codes based on WHO Classification of Tumours of Haematopoietic and Lymphoid Tissues (Swerdlow SH, Campo E, Harris NH et al., Lyon: IARC; 2008).


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Last updated June 14, 2022