Cancer in adolescents and young adults is an important public health issue, because there are approximately 1 million new cases annually. The distribution of diseases in this age group varies geographically, contributing to differences in survival rates. Although an overall survival rate exceeding 80 % has been reported in optimal circumstances, emerging knowledge about distinctions in tumor biology and enhanced clinical accrual to clinical trials should lead to further gains. The challenges of cancer survivorship demand further attention with a particular focus on the quality of life of survivors and amelioration of the long-term complications of treatment. Programs in cancer screening and prevention provide potential for considerable benefits in this age group. A renewed perspective on the adolescent and young adult cohort is required; and, in all of these opportunities for change, there are important roles to be played by advocacy groups internationally. Cancer 2011;117(10 suppl):2245–9. © 2011 American Cancer Society.