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Different strokes for younger folks

Conquest - Summer 2013

Serving the needs of generations X and Y

Related story: Patients of all ages

By Sandi Stromberg

That the needs of pediatric and adult patients differ may surprise no one. But who takes into consideration that differences also exist between baby boomers and generations X and Y?

Kyle DacDac and Ashley Cavender, along
with other members of imPACT, helped 
create an art installation from childhood 
trinkets and toys for the newly remodeled 
Children's Cancer Hospital.
Photo: Sara Farris

Today’s generation X includes those born roughly between 1965 and 1980, 33- to 48-year-olds; generation Y, those born between the 1980s and 2000, now 13- to 33-year-olds. So it’s natural that they have a worldview that varies from the one held by cancer patients in the silent and baby boomer generations.

These younger groups have greater comfort with, and access to, technology through computers, smart phones and video games. They often dress differently, listen to different music and form their own distinct opinions. So, of course, they have different needs when diagnosed with cancer and go through cancer treatments.

Fortunately, over the last decade 
MD Anderson’s awareness of these differences has led to the creation of councils and programs to make sure their distinctive needs are considered.

The Children’s Cancer Hospital now incorporates family-centered care as its model of health care delivery. The Family Advisory Council, Patient Advisory Council for Teens (imPACT), Young Adult Advisory Council and Supportive Care Council also play key roles in giving a voice in what matters to the patients and families.

In addition, there’s the special Cancer180 group for those twenty- and thirtysomethings. The slogan of these young adults is: When cancer strikes, life does a 180. To battle the loneliness of this time, the program provides a social environment where they can connect with other young adults affected by cancer.

Offered by the Anderson Network, a patient and caregiver support organization and program of the Department of Volunteer Services, Cancer180 offers various activities, most recently an evening mixer at the Houston Zoo, dinner and a movie, and an art exhibit launch reception at the Houston Museum of Health and Science.

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