Cancer can be a lonely experience for a young adult. Since there usually aren't many others their age dealing with the same issues, feelings of isolation kick in. Healthy friends can't relate and often distance themselves, which only makes the problem worse.
Many cancer organizations and treatment facilities, like MD Anderson, are realizing the unique challenges faced by young adult cancer patients, and are addressing their unique psychosocial needs.
For example, Anderson Network's Cancer180 program provides a social environment where young adult patients, survivors, caregivers, family and friends in their 20s and 30s can connect with other young adults affected by cancer.
Support is offered through social outings, educational activities and our just-launched Cancer180 Facebook page.
Now, young adults can connect at our social and educational events and meet and stay connected with each other. For those who live in areas where resources are scarce, the hope is that our Facebook page can be a lifeline.
Reaching beyond the main hospital
In an effort to reach out to young adults affected by cancer in other communities, Cancer180 has also created a chapter in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas.
Young survivors and their supporters meet every other month to hang out and make new friends with others who know what they're going through. They also, have a Facebook page.
On August 13, 2011, MD Anderson and Cancer180 will travel to the Rio Grande Valley to host a one-day survivorship symposium.
Through collaboration with The University of Texas-Pan American's Border Health Office, the Cancer180 Survivorship Symposium will bring together young adult patients, survivors and their families to learn from MD Anderson and local cancer and health experts, meet other young adults, and be introduced to resources and opportunities that can make their cancer journeys a bit more navigable.
For more information, visit the symposium's event page on Facebook.
You are not alone.