Planet Cancer: A Community of Young Adults With Cancer
There are more of us young adults with cancer than you think. We are the statistical outliers, unexpectedly diagnosed with cancer between the age of 15 and 39, who come into your office, week after week, and scan the room consciously or unconsciously for people our own age. More likely than not, we won’t see anyone else.
We’ll toss the brochure about support groups because it’s written for our 70-year-old grandmas. We’ll wonder why you don’t have Internet access in your waiting room. We’ll ask if we can delay chemo to attend a bachelor party in Vegas. And, after months of never encountering another young adult with cancer, many of us will come to the same conclusion: I must be the only one.
In fact, young adult cancer patients aren’t as rare as you might think: Nearly 70,000 young adults between the ages of 15 and 39 in the U.S. are diagnosed annually with cancer nearly 7% of all cancer diagnoses. Cancer is the leading disease killer of young adults, and young adults are the most likely group to experience a delayed diagnosis. And perhaps most startling survival rates for young adults between 25 and 35 have remained flat since the 1970s.
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