To the Stupid Cancer Community:
The outbreak of COVID-19 has proven to be a stressful time for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions as most of you already know. Stupid Cancer recognizes the immense stress this adds to the AYA community and would like to share some coping mechanisms we have available to you through our programs and partners.
Here are a few things the CDC recommends you can do to support yourself in these trying times:
- Immunocompromised individuals could get a 4th dose, 6 months after their third shot, to maintain immunity
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
- Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
- Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
- Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
A Statement from Stupid Cancer on the COVID 19 Vaccine and AYAs
Over the past 12+ months, the SARS CoV-2 virus (the virus that causes COVID 19) has impacted our society, and more specifically the adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer community, in drastic ways. For a population already suffering from isolation due to a cancer diagnosis at a critical time in their personal, professional, and emotional development, lockdowns and quarantines have had a devastating effect on not just access to care, but also mental health due to increased isolation and stress.
With the rollout of COVID 19 vaccines across the country, there are questions about the safety and efficacy of the vaccines on cancer patients. First and foremost, Stupid Cancer recommends speaking to your health care team before pursuing any vaccine to fully understand its impact on your treatment and survivorship, specifically if you are receiving immunosuppressive therapy. Immunocompromised individuals, including cancer patients, are more susceptible to severe disease if infected with the SARS CoV-2 virus. That means, if your immune system’s defenses are low, you have a greater chance of becoming critically ill or hospitalized with COVID 19.
The three vaccines available in the United States, the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, have all been shown to lower the risk of severe disease. The vaccines work to teach your immune system to recognize the virus and attack it. None of the vaccines contain live viruses so you will not get COVID 19 from the vaccine. And it is important to remember, once the vaccine does its job, it leaves your body. COVID 19 can stick around for much longer.
There is ample evidence illustrating the benefits both to you and your community of getting vaccinated and for these reasons Stupid Cancer and its Scientific Medical Advisory Board encourage all AYAs to speak to their doctors about getting vaccinated.
For more information about the vaccine and allergies, please refer to these CDC guidelines.
More on the COVID 19 Vaccine:
We joined a broad spectrum of organizations representing laboratory, translational, and clinical researchers; other health care professionals; patients with cancer; and patient advocates in sending a letter to the Biden administration and other public health officials that highlights the importance of prioritizing patients with active cancer and survivors of cancer when administering COVID 19 vaccines.
Read the full letter here.
NJ Transit VAXRIDE:
NJ Transit has just launched an initiative called VAXRIDE to help New Jersey residents get vaccinated by offering complimentary rides to and from vaccination sites. Novartis is proud to be the lead sponsor of the initiative.
Finding credible resources and information for adolescent and young adult cancer patients and survivors during the COVID 19 crisis can be difficult. This website provides a listing of resources and programs for patients and survivors and disease-specific recommendations for healthcare professionals through a collaboration of leading patient advocacy groups and oncologists specializing in adolescent and young adults affected by cancer. To visit the site, click below!
PRESS: A New Website Offers Support for Adolescent and Young Adults With Cancer During the COVID 19 Pandemic – A Conversation with Archie Bleyer, MD.