Free Workshop Focuses on the Needs of Young-Adult Cancer Survivors, Patients

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center is hosting a free, one-day survivorship conference for young-adult patients and survivors Saturday, Aug. 13 at The University of Texas - Pan Am in Edinburg.

The workshop was developed to address the many unique social, educational and developmental needs of patients and survivors who are between the ages of 18 and 39 years old. Any young-adult survivor or patient is invited to attend - regardless of where they received their cancer treatment - and bring his or her spouse, caregiver or family members.

The conference begins at 9:30 a.m. in the Border Health Office of UT - Pan Am at 2412 S. Closner (Business 281) in Edinburg, and ends at 3 p.m.  

There will be educational sessions on priority issues targeted to this unique group of patients and survivors who are too old to participate in pediatric programs but too young for adult resources.

Speakers from MD Anderson and around the Rio Grande Valley will address topics such as employment, fertility, insurance and financial recovery, wellness, nutrition and returning to school. Special support sessions for caregivers and spouses also will be available.

Spanish translation services are available upon request.

For more information or to make reservations, please call 1-800-345-6324 or e-mail

The day-long conference is sponsored by MD Anderson's new support organization, Cancer180, devoted solely to the needs of young adults. The meeting at UT - Pan Am is Cancer180's first educational workshop since the group began about two years ago. The organization gets its name from a young caregiver who once said that, when cancer strikes, "life does a 180."

Providing local Valley support for the MD Anderson workshop are four young-adult survivors who want to bring their community the support, educational resources and camaraderie that is so vital to living through, with and beyond cancer.

One of the four Valley volunteers is Seth Watkins, a 31-year-old from Edinburg who survived Hodgkins lymphoma. Since August 10, 2010, Watkins was diagnosed with cancer, got married (about five months into his rigorous chemotherapy treatment) and graduated from UT - Pan Am. Both Watkins and his wife, Gail Cappadona, have experienced the value of talking and listening to other patients, survivors and caregivers who are close in age.

"I don't want cancer to rule my life and being involved with Cancer180 has allowed me to gain support, offer support and learn so much," said Watkins. "It's amazing how many people are touched by cancer. I hope that young adults in the Valley will join us to learn all that they can about continuing life after their diagnosis." 08/09/11