Rosenberg says, “This is the part of life that is normally characterized by developing milestones like asserting identity, separating from parents, figuring out who you want to be, grappling with body image, who you are, existential questioning, all of those things are really hard.” Because of this, she says people diagnosed in this age range are more likely than their peers without cancer to develop mental health problems, are less likely to go to college and get married, and if they get a job are likely to get paid less.She says the medical community is beginning to study and understand the ways cancer can disrupt AYAs’ life processeses and the long -term effects of those changes.She says part of that is due to a lack of insurance, and part is just the way young people are.
Cancers in young adults are defined as those that start between ages 20 and 39.
More than 60,000 young adults are diagnosed with cancer each year in the US.
According to Rosenberg, a pediatric cancer center is likely to have doctors with more experience treating children’s cancer types and support staff geared toward young people’s needs.
These may include child psychologists, art and music therapists, and school teachers.
For statistical purposes, the American Cancer Society describes cancers in adolescents as those that start between the ages of 15 and 19.
About 5,000 adolescents are diagnosed with cancer each year in the US.Cancers that occur in adolescents include: Many signs and symptoms are more likely to be caused by something other than cancer.Still, these symptoms in AYAs – especially if they don’t go away or they get worse – are a reason to see a doctor.When an adolescent or young adult gets cancer, treatment can be challenging.At an age characterized by the beginnings of independence, the increased reliance on parents that accompanies a cancer diagnosis often complicates care.Because cancer more often occurs in older adults, no cancer that occurs in AYAs is really common.