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    For young adults – cancer and your family

    If you’re a young person diagnosed with cancer you probably have lots of questions about how it will affect your family. While every family is different and has its own strengths and quirks, it may be helpful to consider some common questions. Click on a section below to see some tips and hints, as well as recommendations for further reading. Cancer Advisor has a range of resources for young people facing cancer, but we’re always looking for more content. Leave a comment below, share your own story or recommend a resource.

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    Neuroblastoma staging

    Cancer Australia’s factsheet provides an overview of neuroblastoma staging and the symptoms and treatment that can be experienced. It covers topics such as risk factors for the disease, how diagnosis is made, and what support services are available. Diagnostic tests will also help indicate the stage of the tumour. Staging determines where the tumour is, how large it is, which nearby organs are involved, and whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. This will be important for the treatment team to assess the best options, and to determine the prognosis for your child. See below for a Read more [...]

  • From cancer patient to university graduate

    In this story published by UNSW, Adry Awan talks about how he went from cancer patient to university graduate. Below he talks a bit about why he wrote this piece. When I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of testicular cancer at the age of 17, I believed that I would not be able to achieve my dream of going to university. I was in year 12 at the time of my diagnosis, working hard to pass the HSC. Like all my classmates, I was ready to reap the rewards of all of my hard work and begin the adventures Read more [...]

  • Adult hospitals and treatment centres in Australia

    When it comes to hospital and treatment centres, teenagers and young people facing cancer have a unique set of needs. Where a young person is treated will most likely depend on their age. If you’re a young adult, you’ll go to an adult hospital. However, teenagers can be sent to either a children’s hospital or an adult facility. What hospital you go to may also depend on where you live or even what type of cancer you have. Not all hospitals offer cancer treatment, so you may have to travel, especially if you live in a regional or rural area. Some Read more [...]

  • Advice on friendship during your cancer journey

    This article Cancer and your friends from Redkite offers some advice around friendship during your cancer journey. Often young people find telling their friends about their cancer diagnosis particularly difficult. Even without cancer, people and relationships change – you may find that certain friendships change and new ones may emerge. Some ways to maintain friendships during this time include: Try to be honest and open with them if you can and lean on them when you need to Warn them you may be snappy or angry at times and ask them to forgive you if needed Ask them to keep inviting you Read more [...]

  • Angus’ story: Being a transgender childhood cancer survivor

    On the New Zealand website, Stuff, a transgender cancer survivor shares his story of his upcoming mastectomy. Angus Coleman was diagnosed with Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis (LCH) at just 16 months old. LCH is s a rare type of cancer that can damage tissue, or cause lesions to form in one or more places in the body. During his time with cancer, Angus had ongoing treatment from an endocrinologist, which is now helping him take his next steps in his gender transition. “I was actually set up with an endocrinologist back when I was diagnosed with langerhans​ cell histiocytosis​ [rare cancer]which is actually the doctor you need to see Read more [...]

  • Support for grandparents of kids with cancer

    Grandparents of Kids with Cancer is a web page which offers support for grandparents around the world, giving them a place to share their experiences with other people who have a grandchild with cancer. They advocate for the important role that grandparents play in the family, and acknowledge the emotional and practical needs of grandparents. On the website they say, “Being told that your grandchild has cancer is devastating. Not only is your grandchild going through the most traumatic experience, but your own child is also facing the worst pain imaginable. Talking to other grandparents who are going through the Read more [...]

  • Coping with cancer at university

    In this article on UK news website The Guardian, Robin Cannone shares his personal experience of university as a young person with cancer. Cannone was diagnosed with a type of lymphoma, the most common cancers among 15- to 24-year-olds, representing 21% of diagnoses in the UK. I was looking through my hospital room window and imagining what I’d be doing if I hadn’t been diagnosed with cancer. I wanted to be going clubbing and worrying about university deadlines like a normal 20-year-old – not stuck indoors with a syringe in my arm. -Robin Cannone, young person with cancer Cannone acknowledges the important part that Read more [...]

  • Cancer survivor creates empathy cards

    Emily McDowell has created these empathy cards for people with serious illnesses. As a cancer survivor herself, Emily understands that sometimes people don’t know what to say to someone when they are diagnosed with cancer. “The most difficult part of my illness wasn’t losing my hair, or being erroneously called ‘sir’ by Starbucks baristas, or sickness from chemo. It was the loneliness and isolation I felt when many of my close friends and family members disappeared because they didn’t know what to say, or said the absolute wrong thing without realizing it.” – Emily McDowell These quirky empathy cards will Read more [...]

  • Caring for a son with cancer

    This New York Times documentary follows the story of Regina Hensley and her son Andrew as he fights an aggressive form of cancer, Ewing’s Sarcoma. For years, Regina Hensley struggled with addiction, even once attempting suicide. When her son Andrew was born, he gave her a reason to live. But when he received his diagnosis at 13 years old, Regina had to search for meaning once again. ‘Without Andrew, I can’t imagine what life would be about.’ -Regina Hensley In response to the documentary, the Times received almost 100 responses from parents who were caring for a sick child. Cancer Advisor Read more [...]

  • Working through treatment

    In this 11-minute TED Talk, lawyer Sarah Donnelly talks about her experiences working through treatment for breast cancer.  You can find a range of resources on work and study here. “Back at work I handed over the urgent things (…) but at that moment work wasn’t my priority. I was thinking how I was going to tell my friends and family I had cancer. I was wondering if my partner and I would ever have an opportunity to start a family (…) Work was about to play a huge role in my treatment and recovery. My job that would give me Read more [...]

  • One step closer to compulsory cancer education in UK

    Health education (including sex and relationship education) will become compulsory in the UK. According to a CoppaFeel press release this is one step closer to receiving compulsory cancer education. CoppaFeel is a UK breast cancer awareness charity. In their release, they explain: The guidance released today by the Department of Education shows great progress [showing]the need for pupils to be taught about not only the benefits of healthy eating and keeping fit (important factors to preventing cancer), but also the prevention of health problems and self examination. As we all know, preventing and detecting cancer early is vital in order to give Read more [...]

  • Sarcoma survivor advocates for sarcoma awareness

    Dominique Schell is a sarcoma survivor. In her TEDx talk, the 20 year old shares her personal experience of childhood cancer. In this speech, she talks about how as a survivor she feels an obligation to advocate for all the children who die of sarcoma each year. Schell was diagnosed with osteosarcoma at 10 years old, and in the 10 years following had many complications as the result of her initial surgery. She had eight chemotherapy sessions each lasting a week, which she describes as hell. Her side effects included weight loss, cravings, exhaustion, vomiting and hair loss. She says Read more [...]

  • ONTrac at Peter Mac

    The ONTrac at Peter Mac Cancer Service is located at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Victoria, Australia. Their multidisciplinary team of health professionals works together to ensure that young people are supported before, during and after their cancer treatment. This web page includes information on clinical services for young people like: diagnosis and disease management, palliative and survivorship care, general adolescent health, emotional and mental health concerns, fertility and sexual health, physical and nutritional wellbeing, school and vocation support, and family-focused treatments. The service also provides : Secondary consultation service, Professional development, education and training, research and data collection program, Read more [...]

  • Livewire – an online community for teens

    When you’re a teenager with a serious illness, not many people really get what you’re going through – and it can be hard for siblings too. That’s why we’ve created Livewire: a safe community for young people aged 12-20 living with disability, serious illness or a chronic health condition who can do with crew who understand and offer a little extra support. Online, Livewire is a place you can visit any time, knowing you’re always amongst friends who genuinely care. Here, you can swap stories, ask for ideas, and talk about whatever’s going on in your life, from operations, MRIs Read more [...]

  • Looking after yourself during cancer

    This page from Redkite gives an overview of how to take care of yourself physically and emotionally during your cancer journey. A large part of dealing with cancer is learning how to take care of yourself so that you are better prepared for challenges, but also ready to enjoy good things that come your way. Redkite offers tips on: Self-care Looking after your body Looking after your mind Having fun and taking risks Redkite provides a range of support services for young people with cancer including practical tips, financial assistance, and professional counselling. Cancer Advisor has a range of resources Read more [...]

  • Sharing my cancer story at Sydney Colour Ball 2018

    Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of sharing my cancer story at Sydney Colour Ball 2018 at Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour. The Sydney Colour Ball is an annual, cocktail-style event that raises important funds for Redkite so they can reach even more families affected by cancer and provide them with its essential services. Every year, guests are encouraged to dress up in the colour theme – and this year’s colour was ultraviolet! The fun, party-like atmosphere of the Sydney Colour Ball certainly helped remove any nerves I had about sharing my story. There were lots of good food, drinks Read more [...]

  • Battle Weapons: A coping guide for young people with cancer

    Hi, my name is Nell and I’m the author of Battle Weapons: A coping guide for young people with cancer. I’m also a nurse and a cancer survivor. In high school, when we started the discussion about our future, my career advisor suggested nursing. This really appealed to me; to serve and support people at their most vulnerable is a great honour and privilege. Nursing is very diverse and I wasn’t sure for a long time where I wanted to take it, until I was diagnosed with cancer. I know my life’s purpose is to help those with cancer, particularly young people. Read more [...]

  • “Cancer helped form the person I am” – Sam’s story

    For many years, Sam Alderton-Johnson (30) felt shame and despair when he recalled his memories of suffering from leukaemia as a young boy of 14. “When you’re younger you have this warped idea of what masculinity is,” Sam explains. “I thought that being that very sick kid was a terrible time in my life that I never wanted to engage with, that was until I got older and I realised it had helped form the person I am.” As a teenager, Sam enjoyed sports immensely, however, his life was turned upside down with his diagnosis of leukaemia. He remembers the Read more [...]

  • How my best friend supported me through my cancer journey

    One key life lesson I gained from my cancer journey is the importance of having friends who will provide unwavering support. I am grateful that my best friend, Brock, never left my side. Whether it was helping me catch up on school work, accompanying me to appointments or spending time on weekends to play sports just so I could get my mind off cancer, Brock was a constant figure during a very turbulent time in my life. In my proudest blog for You Can Connect, I share the history of my friendship with Brock and how our friendship helped me Read more [...]