Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I SWEAR I'll start making this blog less depressing.


I ran across a great in-depth study on YA oncology, found here. Of particular interest is the paragraph on psychosocial effects of cancer on those only just entering the arena of adulthood:

"Perhaps the greatest difference between patients in the adolescent/early adulthood age range and other ages is in supportive care, particularly psychosocial care. Adolescents and young adults have special needs that are unique, broader in scope, and often more intense than those at any other time in life. Cancer therapy causes practical problems in social arenas. The dependence of adolescent and young adult patients on peer-group approval poses greater challenges when confronted with a diagnosis of cancer. Self-image, a critical determinant during this phase of life, is compromised by many of the adverse effects of therapy, such as alopecia, weight gain or loss, mucositis and dermatitis (acne, mouth sores), bleeding, infection and contagiousness, susceptibility to infection and need for isolation, impaired sexuality (intimacy, impotency, tetratogenicity risk), and mutilating surgery. Other challenges include the loss of time from school, work, and community and the financial hardships that occur at an age when economic independence from family is an objective. A wide range of financial challenges occurs in the age group. In addition to the health insurance challenge described above, there are the usual limitations in affording life, much more once confounded by the costs of cancer treatment. There may be guilt if not attending to these responsibilities or stress and fatigue if trying to keep up a semblance of normal activity. Partner relationships are tested by the strain of the cancer diagnosis and its therapy. Whether a partner stays in the relationship is challenged by fear of relapse or infertility and may be influenced unduly in either direction by guilt or sympathy. Those contemplating having children may fear passing on a genetic predisposition to cancer. Medical professionals are often poorly equipped to deal with the psychosocial challenges within the age group and are often stymied by the need in these patients to increase compliance, reduce stress, and improve the quality of life during cancer therapy."

dude, seriously.


Pateeta said...

I'm not a young'un any more, but I have to say that all that is spot on. I'm 49 and must deal with all of those same issues except having more children. Thanks for sharing that.

And you just keep writing what you feel, darlin', depressing or not. I'm with you.


Dan said...

xkcd comic on illness and state of mind:

In sum, my approach is I'll be positive when I'm in the mood, and if today I'm down and let me be for a day or's good to get it out of your system.

Dan (another old-timer, at 42 yrs)

kaylin andres said...

42 is still young-adult, at least here in SF :)

AQuin said...

I'm participating in that project coming out of Fordham that you probably heard about through SAMFund.(In case people haven't, the project involves interviewing young people ages 18-30 about their cancer narrative and using that information to improve the young adult patient's social treatment) I was 16 when I started treatment and ten years later I can honestly say that this is the first time that I've been asked about my experience!

I wanted you to know that I'll make my voice heard for all those who couldn't participate.

Sam said...

Start taking 75 milligrams of Aspirin! The news just said that taking 75 mg of Aspirin a day helps aid in fighting off cancer...and might even reverse it. Just letting you know, because when they said that, I instantly thought of you.

Anonymous said...

You should set up a fund for your comic book on paypal.

Rebecca said...

I feel like I have read that before but truly it is spot on. I am not a shy person but I am hoping to be close to done on the rough part of my cancer journey onto my road to remission and it now scares the hell out of me. I graduated from college and less than 2 weeks later I was a cancer patient. I know I can strive and survive on my own but those wings have been taken from me for almost 8 months and now I don't know where to begin with a "new" life. I have my close friends but I have not made any real new friends in months. I have no place to meet men and now I have scares and a story and it freaks me out. I think my Dr and PA have handled me very well with my psyche during treatment but people around me just don't get it about post treatment.

kaylin andres said...


yes, holy crap, it's hard. If you need someone to talk to you can always email me-- we're in this together. It takes time, but it'll slowly get better. Pay attention to your body & make sure to treat the physcological as well as the physical, if you can. I totally felt self-concious and out of place when I returned to the "real world". It does take time to acclimate. best wishes to you :)