The UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center has announced plans to team with national nonprofit Teen Cancer America and First Citizens Bank to enhance its Adolescent and Young Adult, or AYA, cancer program.

These plans include expanding its research initiatives and developing a new space to serve this age group.

Teen Cancer America executive director Simon Davies said growth in this field is real, which is important because teens with cancer require unique care.

“Young people with cancer have unique needs that differ from both children and older adults,” said Davies. “They face unique medical and psychological challenges.”

Chief strategy officer for Raleigh-based First Citizens Bank Jeff Ward said part of this unique care includes simply realizing that they are teens and not adults.

“We all want teens who are battling cancer to feel like teens, despite hopefully facing the biggest challenge they’ll ever face,” said Ward.

Teen Cancer America, which was founded by Roger Daltry and Pete Townshend of the popular British rock band The Who, has partnered with First Citizens Bank with plans to open over 50 cancer centers in the next decade.

Director of UNC Lineberger Shelton Earp said that with the help of First Citizens and Teen Cancer America, Lineberger can continue to treat as wide of a range of patients as possible.

“We don’t have the ability to say, ‘we’re going to do only these diseases well’,” said Earp. “We have to take care of people at the best level we can, and I am so proud of how we do that.”

For more information on Teen Cancer America, clicj here.