It’s World Cancer Day: Are We Doing Enough For Young People?

Canada lags behind the UK and Australia in supporting young adults with cancer.

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Today is World Cancer Day, a day to raise awareness and encourage the prevention of one of the world’s most feared diseases. One aspect of cancer awareness – and support – that our country is decidedly less aware of is cancer in young adults.

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This is where Young Adult Cancer Canada (YACC) comes in. The nonprofit works to connect young adults struggling with cancer in like-minded communities for solidarity and understanding, to raise awareness of this underserved demographic, and to organize workshops and events. survival retreats across the country.

“When you’re a young adult with cancer, you’re usually the first friend of yours to deal with it, like me, and you end up dealing with it independently of other people who can relate,” Geoff said. Eaton, the founder and executive director of YACC. “This turns out to be an important part of the challenge they face. “

Every day in Canada, 22 young adults are diagnosed with cancer.

Eaton was diagnosed with cancer at age 22 and 25, when he began building what would become YACC in 2000 in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

A recent study published by YACC reveals how young adults, that is, between the ages of 15 and 39, are left out when it comes to conversations about cancer. Of 622 young adults diagnosed, 49 percent missed between one and four years of labor. Forty-three percent over 35 reported having less than $ 100,000 in assets, compared to just 17 percent of their non-cancer peers.

“A lot of us don’t have stable jobs or insurance plans and what often happens is that we end up in Canada’s social safety net, which is no way to build a foundation for the rest of your life, ”said Eaton. .

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Additionally, people with cancer use four to six times more payday loans than others, with similar disparities for credit card debt.

When it comes to research and support, Canada lags behind others like the UK and Australia, according to Eaton.

“They have nationally focused charities that have huge investments from government and the results flow from that. we don’t have anything like it in Canada, ”said Eaton. “We invest 0.4 percent of our cancer research spending in young adults with cancer. You will see the same with treatment centers, community philanthropy, survival issues.

Additionally, 84 percent experience significant levels of fear of cancer recurrence. Likewise, high levels of young adult patients face bodily issues and depression resulting from the disease.

The perception of young adults is that they are simply “too young to have cancer”. Meanwhile, many of them have to deal with “facing the end of their life as they began,” as Eaton puts it.

About Elizabeth J. Swartz

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