Resources for Young Patients With Cancer
Debi Fischer is a nurse at the University of Miami surgical oncology step down unit. Prior to that she worked in orthopedics and neurology for many years. In addition to her nursing experience, she has earned a master’s degree in social work. Becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker was a lon-sought-after goal which she finally attained. She is a caregiver for her family and her dogs as well.
Besides Facebook, Instagram, and Tik Tok to link them to the outside world, there are also cancer websites specifically geared for younger patients with cancer.
Nurses, you may have noticed that some of your patients are younger than you. In many cases, patients are decades younger than the nurses taking care of them on the oncology unit. In today’s COVID-19 era, they are alone without family or friends to visit them. The internet is their connection to the outside world. Besides Facebook, Instagram, and Tik Tok to link them to the outside world, there are also cancer websites specifically geared for younger patients with cancer.
Blogs for Younger Patients
The first resource available is called stupidcancer.org (https://stupidcancer.org/). It calls itself a “lifeline” to teenage and younger adult oncology patients. It is a link to their cohorts that have cancer and the information given is tailored to their needs. They further characterize their mission as striving to stamp out the isolation that comes with cancer and bringing younger patients together. Part of their website offers a compilation of the best cancer blogs of 2020.
Stupidcancer.org also has their own blog, called Stupid Cancer (https://blog.stupidcancer.org/). It offers a 3-pronged approach by linking patients to a cancer social worker, staff members and young adults who have conquered rare cancers.
Another blog is the YSC Blog (Young Survival Coalition) for younger female breast cancer patients (https://www.youngsurvival.org/). It delves into the realm of relationships, and sex while dealing with this disease. Another cancer organization is Breast Friends For Life. This group is concerned with the psychosocial effects of dealing with breast cancer. They are a nonprofit group in Georgia which has a Facebook page that young women can access (https://www.facebook.com/breastfriendslagrange).
Colon cancer is not for those in their 40s, 50s or beyond. It strikes young adults too. The Colon Club has a goal of having younger adults know their risk factors, in terms of family history and learning about symptoms and early detection (https://www.colonclub.com/). Furthermore, they want to encourage innovative solutions in their approach to this disease. The older patient mindset is a thing of the past for this group. As their website sates “Let’s talk poop”. They also have a blog called the Colon Club Blog (https://www.colonclub.com/programs-support/blog). Writers here are patients who have been impacted by the disease.
An award-winning website that has created a community approach is Planet Cancer. It has several ways for patients to connect with each other. They offer a retreat in person as well as online forums run by those who have fought in the trenches of this battle. It was founded by Ewing’s Sarcoma survivor Heidi Adams and is a huge presence on the web. (www.planetcancer.org). It has a nickname of “Myspace on prednisone.” It is now part of the Livestrong network founded by Olympian and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong. The website bills itself as the first online presence for young adults with cancer.
This list is not exhaustive by any means. It is meant to be shared with your patient who has time on their hands. Resources that helps them cope while recovering from surgery or while getting chemo are worthwhile.