Helping young people with cancer | Chris O'Brien Lifehouse

Helping young people with cancer

Sarcoma and the Adolescent and Young Adult team

Receiving a cancer diagnosis can be stressful at any age, but for our younger patients it can raise a particular set of questions. Will I ever be okay? Am I the only one? At Chris O’Brien Lifehouse we have a special Adolescent and Young Adult team that works with people between 15 and 29 years old to help them adjust to the changes a diagnosis can bring.

One of the more common cancers of people in this age group are sarcomas, a group of cancers that start in the bones or the soft tissues. While it only affects around 1% of adults with cancer, it is much more prevalent in younger people and our Adolescent and Young Adult team sees many of our sarcoma patients.

The most frequently asked question our sarcoma patients ask is, did I do something wrong to cause this? And the answer is no; it does not come from eating the wrong food or from not exercising enough. Also, and really importantly, when our young patients ask this question it gives them an opportunity to explore some of the issues around it, from reactions to the illness such as anxiety or depression to dealing with body image and sexuality concerns.

The questions our young patients ask might start out the same but the discussions will always be different. The members of our Adolescent and Young Adult team are expertly trained to help.

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