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National Young Adult Cancer Week is being observed this week, April 6-10, to recognize those who are diagnosed with cancer earlier in life and the unique circumstances they face as they fight their disease. Cancer is the number one disease killer for people under the age of 40 and 72,000 young adults (ages 18-39) will be diagnosed with cancer this year.
Young adults with cancer often face very different challenges than those who were diagnosed as children or older adults. Many are pursuing an education, starting families or have young children, and have burgeoning careers that cancer disrupts. The Young Adult Program at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is part of an international initiative to recognize and address the unique circumstances related to lifestyle, work, school, family life, and emotional development that young adults face when living with cancer.
“Young adults aren’t expecting to get cancer,” said Karen Fasciano, PsyD, director of the Young Adult Program at Dana-Farber. “They’re at a time in their life when they’re expecting to move forward and plan for their future. Many young adults feel like this experience can be quite isolating because their peers don’t have the same experiences as they do.”
Clinicians in the Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care Department at Dana-Farber, including psychiatrist, psychologists, and social workers, have specific expertise working with young adults and addressing issues such as the emotional challenges of adjusting to cancer diagnoses, communicating with peers and family, and building and maintaining intimate relationships. The Young Adult Program offers individual counseling, social networking tools, and events, such as the recent Young Adult Cancer Conference, to help young adults and their caregivers cope with cancer.
During National Young Adult Cancer week, patients, survivors, and supporters can connect online using the hashtag #ThisisYAcancer. Follow Dana-Farber’s Young Adult Program on Twitter at @DanaFarberYAP and visit their Facebook page to learn more about the resources, support and services available for young adults with cancer.
Posted on April 07, 2015
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