"Within the young adult cancer community, we hold no one's disease above anyone else's. It is not a contest about body parts because the playing field is leveled when stupid cancer comes along. There are no "good" cancers. Benign tumors can be just as devastating as malignant ones. Issues of isolation, fertility, relationships, fear, parenting, caregiving, careers and insurance are equally shared. We believe that when the doctor says, "You're cured. Go home.", that's not the end of the story. We have the right to survive with dignity and quality and we deserve to be treated age-appropriately. Cancer survivorship is an art; and the art of your survivorship is how you choose to get busy living. This is who we are. We are one community. We are hundreds of thousands strong. We are changing the rules. WE ARE STUPID CANCER!
Young adults can and do get cancer. Most people, when they think of cancer, don't even consider for a moment that it can happen to an 18 year old. Or a 25 year old. Or a 37 year old. But it does. 72,000 times per year. Help us change this stigma and spread the word that our generation deserves better. The public needs to be aware that we exist... and that we matter, too.
• 72,000 adolescents and young adults aged 15-39 are diagnosed with cancer. º
• That's one every eight minutes.
• 10,000 young adults die annually due to cancer. º
• That's one every hour.
• Cancer incidence in young adults has increased more than any other age group. ¹
• Survival rates have not improved at the same rate as other age groups. ¹
• Cancer has become the number one disease killer in young adults. ¹
• Young adults are now the most underserved patient population by age. ¹
• Delayed cancer diagnosis is now disproportionately higher in young adults. ¹
• There are ~1M young adult cancer survivors in the United States. ¹
• Of the 14M cancer survivors in the United States, one in 5 is under 40. ¹
• One in 100 US college students is a cancer survivor. ¹
• There are over 420,000 long term childhood cancer survivors in the US under 40. ¹
• Young adults get entirely different cancers than other age groups.
• The reasons why young adults get cancer are entirely different than that of other age groups.
• Clinical trial participation in young adults is lower than other age groups.
• There is currently no "young adult cancer clinical research."
• Funding traditional cancer research will most likely not help a young adult with cancer.
• Young adults have unique needs that other age groups do not such as fertility, relationships, dating, intimacy, sexuality, singlehood, parenting, insurance, financial assistance, career planning, education and age-appropriate peers support.
• Social isolation is the number one issue faced by young adults with cancer.
• Quality of life for these patients is as important as quality of care.
• The entire medical community and cancer continuum at large is grossly uneducated as to how to effectively communicate with, diagnose, treat, support and follow-up with young adults.
• Many big box cancer organizations have not yet caught on to the young adult bandwagon and do not provide young adult direct patient services, provide funding to young adult research (or clinical trials) or support the critical programs of young adult advocacy organizations. If these facts make you want to puke and you truly want to start helping this new generation of cancer survivors, give to the groups without middlemen, where you know where your dollar goes and there is measured impact. Don't get lost in a sea of people racing for cures that might help someone someday. Join us, get help and help someone else today. That's right. Today. It's time to get busy living.
¹ source: NCI 'Closing The Gap', 2006
² source: IOM 'Cancer Care For The Whole Patient', 2007
³ source: US Census, 2007