The normal challenges facing teens and young adults are many: school, relationships, graduating, college, job, independence, starting a family, and security, to name a few.
Imagine during this season of life filled with great hope, dreams, and life decisions, hearing the most unexpected news imaginable. Words that your family, physicians, and friends don’t even think about at an age of youthful activity and vibrancy.
“YOU HAVE CANCER”
Where does a teen or young adult with cancer go for treatment, guidance, and support? The answer is not simple, and currently there is no set path to take. The variables are many:
- Does the cancer fall under pediatric or adult oncologists?
- Is there one treatment protocol or are their choices?
- What about fertility preservation, school, work, family?
- Who will be the caretaker?
These are just a few examples of the trials young adults experience. With no age-appropriate treatment centers, it is not surprising the survival rates haven’t improved in over 30 years.
What are some of the reasons young adult cancer hasn’t seen improvements?
- Delay in diagnosis
- Little to no change in survival rates in 30 years
- Lack of research specific to young adult cancers
- Pediatric nor adult hospitals meet young adult needs
- Young adults are most likely to be uninsured
- Little to no emphasis on prevention and early detection
It is for these reasons that the Rutledge Foundation has committed to support education, early detection, and advancing research that lead to new treatments to improve the care, quality of life, and long term survival of the millions of young adult cancer with cancer.
Huge advances have been made in pediatric and adult cancers. Now is the time to give focus and attention to the most promising and productive members of our society: YOUNG ADULTS with cancer.
Their voices need to be heard, their hopes and dreams achieved, and most of all, their cancers conquered.