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Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology (AYA) Program

Living with Cancer as a Young Adult: Survivors Share Their Stories

At any stage of life, a cancer diagnosis is unwelcome and unexpected. For the 70,000 adolescents and young adults (AYAs) between the ages of 15-39 diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. each year, it can also be isolating, overwhelming and uniquely complicated.

Even after finishing treatment, young adult survivors may still face education, career and financial setbacks, infertility, social and emotional challenges, and late effects of cancer treatment. Two of the Lurie Cancer Center's young adult survivors, Tina and Lanie, shared their experiences in the following blog posts.

Kissing Toads and the Road to a Family After Cancer

”My life was a roller coaster that included cancer and all the challenges that come with being diagnosed as a young adult. I was single and struggled with dating, intimacy, career, finances and often had questions like, do I tell them I had cancer — and when do I tell them? What will they think of my scars — or do I just leave the lights off and my clothes on?  What do I want to be now when I grow up? If I get serious with someone do I tell them I may not be able to have children, or do I lie and put a pillow in my tummy and borrow my friend’s baby?”

Read Tina's blog post here

Surviving Stage IV Cancer and Finally Meeting People Who Get It

“There is a lot that I wish I’d known going into my second round with cancer, but what I realize now is, more than anything, I wish I had sought out other people going through something similar. I didn’t understand how good it would feel to be in a room full of people that understood things like chemo brain, neuropathy and debilitating fatigue until I went to my first Cancer Connections seminar at the Lurie Cancer Center. . . Being a part of this community has changed my life and given me another support system that I didn’t even know I needed until it was there.”

Read Lanie's blog post here



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