UK Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Oncology Program

A cancer diagnosis at any age is a daunting experience. For adolescents and young adults, who already face many unique social, physical and emotional challenges, a cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming. Although many cancers diagnosed in adolescents and young adults are closely associated with pediatric cancers, some are more aligned with cancers of older adults. Because of this, teens and young adults with cancer are experiencing better outcomes if they’re treated at centers that care for both children and adults.

Our Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Oncology Program offers the essential combination of doctors and specialists from both the DanceBlue Pediatric Oncology Clinic and the Markey Cancer Center. Together, our providers tailor treatments to meet the individual requirements of each patient who is between the ages of 15 and 29. This combination of expertise – along with support services that cater to the unique needs of young people – can make all the difference in accomplishing our ultimate goal of not just surviving cancer but thriving in spite of it.

Our cancer treatment and support team

We are a team of pediatric and adult oncologists coupled with a full range of support staff who offer personalized care to address the medical needs and other issues that affect our adolescent and young adult patients. In addition to skilled physicians, our team includes a nurse practitioner, social worker, registered dietitian and school intervention specialist. We also offer pain management services, oncofertility counseling and genetic counseling.

Clinical trials

Cancer treatments have been more successful in other age groups than in young adults. This may be due to the lack of adolescents and young adults participating in clinical trials. Through clinical trials, we strive to learn more about the biological makeup of cancers in this age group. Our goal is to make sure every young person at the AYA Oncology Program who is eligible for a clinical trial has the opportunity to participate in one. Additionally, we work with the Markey Cancer Center’s Molecular Tumor Board to identify precision medicine opportunities for therapies that can best benefit our patients. 

Our message to AYA patients

Whether you’re in college or in the workforce, we understand the many challenges you’re facing. As a young adult with a cancer diagnosis, you may experience a loss of independence, and you might be struggling to keep up with your responsibilities, appointments, insurance and more. It’s normal for you to feel anxious about all of these challenges. We are here to help you. Some of the services we offer are:

  • Comprehensive oncologic clinical care.
  • Supportive care services to assess need, connect you to the appropriate resources and provide emotional support for you and your family.
  • Quarterly educational and motivational meetings where you can connect with others your age who share similar experiences.
  • A school intervention specialist to serve as a liaison between you and your educational institution and to support your educational needs throughout your journey.
  • Pain management and palliative care.
  • Counseling for fertility issues to help you make the best informed decisions throughout the course of your treatment.
  • A licensed professional who can talk with you about the stress and challenges that come with your cancer diagnosis and who can support you as you get back on track after your treatment.
  • Child Life services to address the needs of your child or siblings.

If you are not seeing a provider at UK, we are still here to help you along your journey. You can continue seeing your personal physician in your community and visit our clinic for support services when you need them.

Make an appointment


To make an appointment with the UK Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Program, please call 859-257-4554.

Referring providers

Please contact AYA Medical Director Dr. Caryn Sorge and/or the AYA nurse practitioner, Dianna Holtzhauer, via UKMDs (859-257-5522). You may also call Diana Holtzhauer directly at 859-562-2115, or page her at 859-330-2017. Patients will then be placed with an appropriate physician based on their diagnosis as well as clinical trial availability.

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