Young people who are diagnosed with cancer need community and support. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society offers a variety of programs designed to help.
Facing cancer at any age is devastating, but for young adults ages 18-39, a diagnosis comes with unique challenges and considerations.
At a time when individuals in this age group are likely embarking on new journeys in their education, professional careers, relationships, and more, cancer can bring their lives to a screeching halt.
Treatment can cause long-term health complications, such as an increased risk of developing secondary cancer later in life, compromised organ function, and fertility issues.
Aside from physical side effects, the psychological and psychosocial effects of a cancer experience can be detrimental to young adults as they navigate their diagnosis, where they are in life, and their relationships. Treatment can be isolating and might limit or prevent cancer patients from participating in regular routines and activities.
“Experiencing cancer at any age is difficult,” said Karen DeMairo, vice president of education, support, and integration for patient and professional programs at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). “For young adults working towards future goals, there are special considerations and having an adequate support system is critical.”
Connecting with others who have experienced or been affected by blood cancer in some way can be a valuable source of support.
“I love and cherish LLS for the connections I made through their community,” said Kyle Frazier, Lymphoma survivor, and Savannah State University football player. “I met and connected with so many wonderful people who I still talk to today while in remission.”
Frazier remains involved with LLS by volunteering his time and support to other blood cancer patients.
Free support programs available to young adults
Below are some of the many free programs and support services LLS offers to all those affected by blood cancers, and features resources and groups dedicated to young adults. They connect young adult patients and survivors with others affected by blood cancer and with LLS’s trained oncology professionals, allowing them to share experiences, ask questions and seek support and information about their disease and experience.
- Weekly Online Chat — an open forum for young adults dealing with cancer and cancer survivorship moderated by oncology social workers.
- LLS Community — an online community that features a group specifically devoted to the young adult cancer community.
- LLS’s Patti Robinson Kaufmann First Connection Program® — a free service that matches blood cancer patients and their loved ones with trained peer volunteers who have shared similar experiences. Young adults can receive or volunteer to offer peer support.
- Support groups — local, in-person groups that provide mutual support and education to members who may feel a little less alone by meeting with others whose situations are similar to their own.
In addition to the programs listed above, any patient, family member, or caregiver affected by a blood cancer diagnosis is encouraged to contact an LLS Information Specialist at (800) 955-4572. These trained oncology professionals offer one-on-one, personalized support throughout the entire cancer journey into survivorship, providing accurate, up-to-date information about blood cancers, clinical trials, nutrition resources, and more, as well as help navigate financial and social challenges they might face.
For more information, please visit www.LLS.org/youngadults