Young adults with cancer face unique challenges: study
Published Thursday, September 26, 2019 11:48AM MDT
Last Updated Monday, September 30, 2019 8:00AM MDT
EDMONTON -- Young adults diagnosed with cancer also suffer a lack resources and support, according to a new study from Young Adult Cancer Canada (YACC).
The findings from YACC's Young Adults with Cancer in their Prime (YACPRIME) study were presented at the annual International Psycho-oncology Society Symposium in Banff, Alta. this week.
According to the report, the challenges for this population are unique because the cancer diagnosis interrupts an important development period and can have a lasting impact on all areas of their lives and for a longer period of time.
Statistics show that 22 young adults are diagnosed with cancer every day in Canada. Alberta has 969 diagnoses per year, and 23,936 survivors.
“Many people see this age group as ‘too young to have cancer’ resulting in a massive lack of resources from support to research,” Geoff Eaton, founder of YACC and himself a young adult cancer survivor said in a written release. “The paltry offering of support programs leads to intense isolation for patients and their families."
In addition to the challenge of getting treatment while in school or starting a career, patients can also struggle with financial stress, fear of the cancer returning and the pressure to keep up with their peers' life milestones.
“There is a strong need for support for this demographic, not only while they’re fighting cancer, but also once they’re in remission and beyond,” said Dr. Sheila Garland, clinical psychologist at Memorial University of Newfoundland and lead researcher of the study.
YACC and its partners hope this study will improve awareness and care for young people fighting cancer.
Young Adult Cancer Canada delivers support programs for young adults, ages 15 to 39 years old who are dealing with cancer. The not-for-profit offers web-based, local and four-day programs across the country.