Cancer & Young Adults
A mom recently talked to me about her twenty something who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. She asked, what should I do, this seems like a disease of people my age, not her age. We advised that first she needs to make sure that she has had more than one opinion and that she is getting the best conventional medical care from a comprehensive cancer center that provides care to patients with breast cancer. Further, she needs a well thought out treatment plan that reflects the best evidence based medicine from a treatment center that has treated other young women and do not see this as uncommon. We see a large proportion of these patients at UCLA.
Given that she is 20 years old, she will be dealing with a lot of issues that are common to other women with breast cancer, but some issues are unique to her because of her age.
Most likely, she still has many developmental issues. As a mom, the kinds of things you want to be able to do are to be sensitive to the issues she is struggling with. Good communication is also an important part of good psychological support. Communication needs to be two-way, involving both listening as well as talking and providing information. Getting involved in a support group for young adults could be especially helpful.
For more information on young adults and cancer, click here.