What I’ve learned in my research work so far is that survivors of adolescent and young adult cancer have lower rates of educational and vocational attainment than healthy young people, meaning we don't tend to graduate from higher education or stay employed to the same extent as healthy people of our sam age. Many of us struggle to build and maintain healthy relationships. (this was something I had trouble with for a long time, especially in terms of knowing how to and feeling comfortable with developing a romantic relationship). It’s my goal in the next 4 years, and hopefully through the rest of my career, to begin to establish a clearer understanding of why AYA survivors have worse social outcomes than healthy young people. How can healthcare providers help us better manage the physical and psychological impacts of treatment so we aren't at such a disadvantage? Because we shouldn't be at such a disadvantage. We deserve to achieve our pre-cancer potential and live lives that are far better than normal. I can only hope that my next #tenyearchallenge post ten years from now will be filled with change and improvement in this space. Until then, I'm determined to work towards making that change and improvement in any ways I can.
If you are an AYA cancer survivor and you are struggling with school, work, or relationship issues, you're not alone. There are some great resources and support services out there that might be able to help. You can follow any of the links below to learn more, or you could reach out to your treating team, social worker, or a psychologist for further support.
Work, School, and Finances for Young Adults with Cancer - Leukemia and Lyphoma Society: www.lls.org/childhood-blood-cancer/about-childhood-blood-cancer/teens-and-young-adults/work-school-finances
Resources for Teens - Cancer.net: www.cancer.net/navigating-cancer-care/teens/resources-teens
Resources for Young Adults - Cancer.net: www.cancer.net/navigating-cancer-care/young-adults/resources-young-adults
If you are having trouble finding resources that are right for you, feel free to reach out to me! I might be able to suggest alternatives!