If you have been diagnosed with cancer between the ages of 18-39, you need to know that there is a whole community of people, supports and resources out there just for you and the unique challenges you may be facing. Young adulthood is when a lot of major life events normally take place for people. This can be when people start university, begin their careers and/or think about starting families. Because of this, you may be trying to navigate challenges that are different than older and younger cancer patients.
The young adult cancer population falls between both pediatric and adult health systems. Because of this, you may be finding it difficult to find and connect with other young people at the hospital where you are being treated at, as other patients may be quite older or younger than you. If that’s the case, you need to know where to go to find a community where you can connect with people who are the same age as you and who understand what it is that you are going through! No one should have to navigate this experience alone. The following seven resources can be used as starting points to accessing a community of supports and resources that are just for young people:
1. #AYACSM (Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Societal Movement): #AYACSM is used to group and connect AYA content on all social media platforms. I co-founded this hashtag and on Twitter it is used to conduct live community tweet chat conversations with young adult cancer advocates on the first Tuesday at 8pm EST.
2. Young Adult Cancer Canada: https://www.youngadultcancer.ca/
They are a Canadian organization that offers supports and resources for patients and caregivers.
3. Pink Pearl: https://pinkpearlcanada.org/
This Canadian organization offers supports and resources specifically for self-identifying young women.
4. Rethink Breast Cancer: https://rethinkbreastcancer.com/
Rethink offers information, support, community and advocacy for those impacted by breast cancer in Canada.
5. On the Tip of the Toes: https://tipoftoes.com/
This organization offers therapeutic adventures for young people living with cancer.
6. Stupid Cancer: https://stupidcancer.org/
Stupid Cancer is an American organization with a mission to empower everyone affected by cancer at a young age by ending isolation and building community.
7. Cactus Cancer Society: https://cactuscancer.org/
This American-based organization’s mission is to provide a safe space where young adults can connect, cope, and thrive with one another in an online community through creativity and expression.
Many of these resources can provide you with practical knowledge and skills that have been developed just for people living with cancer between the ages of 18-39. They can provide some of the information necessary to help you navigate life after a cancer diagnosis. In addition to informational support, these groups actively nurture and develop young adult cancer communities. By jumping in and connecting with other people who understand what it is that you are going through, you will have the opportunity to learn from others who are navigating similar challenges. Having people in your support system who understand what it is that you are going through can help you to feel understood and supported by a community of peers who get it!