National Young Adult Cancer Awareness Week

This week, April 5-11, is National Young Adult Cancer Awareness Week.

While survival rates for age groups younger and older have improved, survival rates for those diagnosed with cancer between the ages of 15 and 39 have not improved since 1975.

As a young survivor of breast cancer, I can tell you that fact is hard to hear.

I can also tell you that young adult survivors deal with issues of particular importance to them, including fertility, maintaining health while dealing with the side effects of treatment, and long-term survivorship issues.

When I was diagnosed at 34, I was so glad to find the Young Survival Coalition for women diagnosed with breast cancer under the age of 40. As I was sitting in doctor’s offices realizing in horror that everyone around me was at least 30 years older than me (and they staring back in horror that someone “so young” was a cancer patient — I brought at least one woman to tears just by my presence), I was so glad to be able to find women my age online dealing with issues I was dealing with. In addition to questions about fertility, sexual side effects, long-term side effects and surgery outcomes, I also needed to know the differences in treatment options for someone my age and the aggressive nature of my “young woman’s” breast cancer.

Throughout treatment and onto “survivorship,” I’ve been immensely impressed by the resources provided by Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong organization, including the Livestrong Young Adult Alliance.

If you’d like to read more, Vital Options, founders of National Young Adult Cancer Awareness Week have a great set of resources focusing on cancer in young adults.

To all my survivor friends this week, a virtual high five!

Author: rosie

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