SOURCE: Vital Options International

March 27, 2007 17:17 ET

National Young Adult Cancer Awareness Week® 2007

LOS ANGELES, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 27, 2007 -- National Young Adult Cancer Awareness Week 2007 is supported and recognized by advocacy organizations and clinical institutions throughout the country the first week in April. Nearly 70,000 young adults in their 20s and 30s are diagnosed with cancer each year and it is the leading disease killer among 20- to 39-year-olds. In addition to the unique psychosocial concerns that young adults face such as fertility, body image, cognitive function, long-term effects, education, insurance and employment, young adults with cancer have had less survival improvement than either younger or older patients, and strides made in cancer treatment have bypassed young adults. Young adults also have the lowest participation rate in clinical trials of any age.

"In order to improve the outcomes of young adults with cancer, we must learn more about the unique biological behaviors of their tumors so we can develop specific treatments," says Stuart E. Siegel, MD, Director of the Childrens Center for Cancer & Blood Diseases at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles and Professor and Vice Chair of Pediatrics at the USC Keck School of Medicine.

"When Vital Options was founded in 1983 it was the first and only support and advocacy organization for young adults with cancer. It was a pioneering and often lonely effort, but today there is a large movement on behalf of this unique age group between their teens and early 40s, and growing attention is being paid to the very distinct clinical needs of young adults," says Selma R. Schimmel, founder and CEO of Vital Options International and a long-time young adult cancer survivor.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI), in collaboration with the Lance Armstrong Foundation and the LIVESTRONG™ Young Adult Alliance, has developed the Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology (AYAO) Progress Review Group (PRG). It is the first public-private partnership of its kind and is composed of prominent members of the scientific, medical and advocacy communities. Its purpose is to establish a national agenda for adolescent/young adult oncology.

National Young Adult Cancer Awareness Week® 2007 is a collaborative partnership of the following organizations and medical advisors:

American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), American Society of Clinical Oncology's (ASCO) patient information website -- People Living With Cancer, plwc.org, The Billy Foundation, CancerCare, Children's Cause for Cancer Advocacy, Childrens Hospital of Wisconsin, Fertile Hope, Intercultural Cancer Council, The LifeLab, LIVESTRONG™ Young Adult Alliance, Lymphoma Research Foundation, National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS), National Collegiate Cancer Foundation, OncoLink, Planet Cancer, Prepare to Live, RealTime Cancer, The SAMFund for Young Adult Survivors of Cancer, Sarcoma Foundation of America, Sean Kimerling Testicular Cancer Foundation, Steps For Living, Testicular Cancer Resource Center, Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults, The Wellness Community, Young Survival Coalition; and Karen Albritton, MD and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute; Archie Bleyer, MD of AFLAC/Cure Search AYA Cancer Research Program, Children's Oncology Group; Julie Gralow, MD and the University of Washington, Seattle; Brandon Hayes-Lattin, MD and the Oregon Health and Science University Cancer Institute; Leonard Sender, MD and the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California, Irvine; Stuart E. Siegel, MD and the Childrens Center for Cancer & Blood Diseases at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles; Bradley Zebrack, PhD, MSW, MPH and the Association of Oncology Social Work; and Gina D'Amato, MD, Samuel Agresta, MD, G. Douglas Letson, MD, and David Cheong, MD and the Sarcoma Program at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center.

On Sunday, April 1, 2007, 1-3pm PT/4-6pm ET, The Group Room® cancer talk radio show, the weekly call-in cancer show produced by Vital Options International in association with Premiere Radio Networks, will explore young adult themes and issues and will feature a discussion with Kris Carr, writer, director and subject of the film "Crazy Sexy Cancer," which will be aired on TLC Life Lens this August.

"Kris Carr is a powerful embodiment of the spirit and attitude of young adults faced with cancer," says Heidi Adams, executive director of Planet Cancer, who will also join the Sunday broadcast. "'Crazy Sexy Cancer' is a compelling story of a young person taking charge of her own health care and finding her own best answer when faced with a rare, incurable cancer. Like many young adults, she also refuses to be defined by or stigmatized by her disease. I think she will challenge and inspire young adults -- she shows that it's okay to laugh in the face of cancer, to continue living your life, and to set the tone for how you and everyone around you deals with this disease."

Now in its 12th year, The Group Room is heard on select radio stations throughout the country as well as on XM Satellite Radio, simulcast on the Internet at www.vitaloptions.org, where past shows are also archived, and podcast through iTunes and iRadioNow.com. Callers enter on-air discussions toll-free by dialing 1-800-GRP-ROOM (1-800-477-7666) or sending their comments and questions by email to info@vitaloptions.org.

On behalf of National Young Adult Cancer Awareness Week 2007, Vital Options has also teamed up with NowLive.com, the premiere network for live, user-generated shows on the Internet, to create a live, weekly radio program that reflects today's youth culture trend of social networking. The live show is an online, interactive broadcast designed for young adults with cancer where the audience can actively participate with the radio host and guests via an integrated text chat board, phone call-in, picture and video sharing. "This Web 2.0 broadcast empowers young adults to gather real-time information and socialize with other individuals who share similar experiences. I believe the interactive broadcast will revolutionize the way online information is communicated and shared among doctors, patients and survivors," says Kevin Bromber, CEO and co-founder of NowLive.com. The program will be released later this spring.

National Young Adult Cancer Awareness Week® was launched in 2003 by Vital Options in commemoration of its 20th anniversary. While the organization has since evolved into the first cancer communications organization and is no longer limited to young adults, it maintains a dedicated focus for this age group and also features a young adult website at www.youngadultswithcancer.org.

Vital Options International is an innovative not-for-profit cancer communications, support and advocacy organization whose mission is to facilitate a global cancer dialogue. Headquartered in Southern California, its European division is based in Paris, France. For more information and access to all programs, please visit www.vitaloptions.org.