Ed Everest's Guide to the World's Best Cancer Websites
The home page address is www.bestcancersites.com

Networking, advocating and support
for young adults and adolescents-teens
with cancer

The address of this page is www.bestcancersites.com/yacsworld/

There are a small but growing number of websites created specifically for young adults and adolescents-teens with cancer.

If you're in one of these age groups and you've been diagnosed with cancer, I suggest making the website of the I'm Too Young For This! Cancer Foundation at www.imtooyoungforthis.org one of your first ports of call, exploring the site, and checking out their comprehensive list of other cancer-related internet resources for adolescents-teens and young adults. Look for the heading "Support Channels" on the home page: "The channels below will connect you with hundreds of age-appropriate resources and open the door to socially network with countless thousands of young adult survivors and caregivers".

I'm Too Young For This! also has a presence on several social newtworking websites including Facebook at www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2255009406 and Myspace at www.myspace.com/imtooyoungforthis.

The Foundation and website is the creation of concert pianist and composer Matthew Zachary who at the age of 21 was diagnosed with brain cancer. Not only has he continued his musical career since his diagnosis but he's turned some of his creative energies to developing the I'm Too Young For This! Foundation and website as a "...survivor-led advocacy, support and research organization working exclusively on behalf of survivors and care providers under the age of 40".

Here's an estimate given on the I'm Too Young For This! website of the numbers of people in the adolescents-teens and young adult age groups affected by cancer in the USA alone. You can multiply these figures by twenty to get an idea of the numbers for the entire planet. "... there are (in the US) in excess of 1,000,000 young adults aged 15-39 currently living with through and beyond their cancer diagnosis and treatment. This statistic also includes long-term survivors of childhood cancer. Furthermore, if you add adults over 39 who were diagnosed as young adults or , we're looking at nearly two million people. ... But wait! There's more! Survivorship is not just about the patient! Caregivers matter, too! So, if you now account for young adult spouses, siblings, children and parents, we're pretty much talking eight figures of people (>10,000,000)."

So if you're in the adolescents-teens or young adult age groups and you've been diagnosed with cancer at some time in your life, you aren't alone!

Realtime Cancer at www.realtimecancer.org is a Canadian organisation and website for young adults involved with cancer. It was established in 2000 by Geoff Eaton who was diagnosed in 1998 at age 22 with leukemia.

Among the resources on the website there are many survivor and supporter profiles or stories, a forum, news and articles, and a list of the different support groups in Canada specifically focused on young adults (look for the thread in their forum titled "Local Young Adult Support Groups!"). They also run a public education program.

There's plenty on their website that will be of interest to young adults with cancer wherever you live in the world, and to those working to improve services and support for young adults with cancer.

Patty has created a comprehensive website called the Pediatric Oncology Resource Center at www.acor.org/ped-onc, for parents, friends, and families of children who have or had childhood cancer. There's a wealth of information on her site, including an annotated list of links to many teen and some young adult web sites and support groups on this webpage www.acor.org/ped-onc/cfissues/teens.html.

Planet Cancer is a USA-based organisation and website for young adults with cancer. It was founded in 1995 by Heidi Adams, Robin Blue and Paul Cox who were all wrestling with cancer in their twenties at the time. The Planet Cancer website at
www.planetcancer.org mixes irreverance and humour with support including forums and chat, information and news and retreats, and social networking.

Reducing the isolation many young adults with cancer feel is a key aspect of Planet Cancer's mission. They provide information on various ways for young adults with cancer to connect with each other, including:
"A clearinghouse for [list of] young adult groups around the country [USA], including official support groups, camps and more informal gatherings. Let us know about your local group, so that we can spread the word to others in your area" ...
... a list of "Camps around the country that hold sessions specifically for young adults with cancer. Some of these are provided free of cost to cancer survivors and their families" ...
... "if you're looking to connect with another cancer survivor on a more personal basis than you could online or in a support group ... Several matching services exist for young adults going through cancer who would like to meet or talk to someone else who has had a similar experience. If you want to get REALLY personal there's also an online dating community!".

Planet Cancer has recently added a valuable new resource that's bound to be popular - a social networking site for young adults with cancer at http://myplanet.planetcancer.org. Members can join groups or form their own groups, share photos and videos, participate in the forums and chat, and run their own blogs. Planet Cancer also has a presence on Facebook at www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=4614089667.

If you explore the websites I've described above, including their links and resources pages, you'll find a variety of other websites and resources relevant to adolescents-teens and young adults with cancer.

If you know of any other groups supporting and advocating specifically for young adults with cancer, please send me details to everest@bestcancersites.com. And if you'd like to contribute in any way to the development of treatment and support services, information and advocacy for young adults with cancer, just go to the abovementioned websites and you'll find invitations to contribute on most of them.

Ed Everest, Adelaide, Australia.

24th April 2008

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