AYA Research Agenda Workshop 2015

The COSA AYA Executive Committee held their second AYA Research Strategy Workshop on Friday 8 May 2015. The four specific areas of focus for this workshop were derived from discussions held during the 2014 AYA Research Strategy workshop brainstorming session which centred around nontherapy issues affecting AYA research. The four main areas addressed were:

  • lowering the age of eligibility
  • collaborative opportunities for AYA clinical trial development and access
  • a virtual national tumour bank
  • a national clinical trials app.

The overall purpose of the workshop was to provide an opportunity to examine these four areas in depth and develop a strategic plan of action to address the issues in these areas which form significant barriers to AYA research in Australia.

AYA CPD 2014

An AYA CPD day was held in conjunction with the 2014 COSA ASM in Melbourne. The aim of the day was to provide continuing professional education and to promote awareness of AYA oncology and research. There were two themed sessions during the day; AYA Cancers and Genetic/Ethical Challenges and AYA Cancer Survivorship. A number of international and local speakers presented on the following topis:

  • Genetic/ethical challenges including colorectal and breast cancers in AYAs and genetic risk assessment
  • Sarcomas and Genetic Cancer Risk
  • Pros and cons of genetic testing of offspring and siblings
  • Fertility preservation
  • AYA distress screening and providing developmentally appropriate oncology care to AYAs
  • Nutritional status and perceived nutritional needs of AYAs with Cancer

AYA Research Strategy Workshop 2014

The first AYA Research Agenda workshop was held on the 17 March 2014. Attendance was excellent with representation from the COSA AYA Executive Committee, Cancer Australia, CanTeen (including the CanTeen Research Advisory Group), Australian Association of Adolescent Health, and eight of the Cancer Cooperative Trials Groups (CCTGs).

The overall purpose of the workshop was to develop a national AYA research strategy.

In order to achieve this the workshop aims were to:

  • Stock take current activities in AYA research
  • Identify barriers and issues in AYA research
  • Identify priorities for future AYA research
  • Identify and promote collaboration opportunities
  • Leverage health professional, clinical trial and non-government groups to advocate and achieve change.

Strategic Planning Day 2013

An AYA Executive Committee strategic planning day was held in September 2013 to discuss future priorities and develop an agenda for ongoing activities for the next 5 years. During this meeting the AYA Executive Committee identified several key areas of focus for the activities of the group. The two key areas of focus identified were formulating a research strategy for AYAs and updating the current AYA guidances. 

Youth Cancer Networks Program

In previous years, the focus of the group has been delivering projects funded by the Federal Government under Youth Cancer Networks Program and administered by CanTeen as part of the Youth Cancer Fund. A Steering Committee including lead clinicians from each state, chaired by Dr Wayne Nicholls, guided this work.

The Committee was responsible for developing three projects to help improve cancer services and care for adolescents and young adults throughout Australia:

AYA Cancer Network
The AYA Cancer Network is a national professional network of individuals and organisations with an interest in improving outcomes for adolescents and young adults diagnosed with cancer in Australia.

In December 2012, COSA performed a survey to evaluate the success of the AYA Cancer Network. Results indicated that members found that the Network facilitated access to other health professionals and the development of connections between these individuals.

AYA Clinical Practice Guidance
The AYA Group has produced evidence-based guidance on issues related to the care of adolescents and young adults with cancer. The guidance was developed and published on COSA’s online Wiki platform, to enable broad access and ongoing review and updating.

AYA wiki guidelines

AYA Clinical Research
This project aimed to develop support for clinical research and increase clinical trial participation by adolescents and young adults with cancer. The AYA-PK Study and the ALL6 Clinical Trial continue to recruit patients in several sites in Australia.