Young people with cancer often lose friends, are not listened to at colleges, some struggle with infertility, and may also suffer from psychological problems. The professional association has therefore prepared advice on how to help this population return to society.
Cancer is diagnosed annually in 2.7 million inhabitants of the European Union, 1.3 million die of cancer, of which 2,000 are young people. Thanks to modern diagnostics and treatment, more and more cancer patients, including young ones, are surviving. In the Slovenian Association of Patients with Lymphoma and Leukemia L&L, with the Come back campaign, they draw attention to the needs of young people who have experienced cancer in returning to life.
Young people who get cancer basically fall into two main groups, namely young people who are still involved in the education process and young people who already have children of their own. These two groups of patients face different challenges, warns the internal oncology specialist Urška Rugelj.
Many problems and obstacles
Faculties often do not listen to students who struggle with cancer during their education. Due to illness, they lose friends and are excluded from social life. Due to the long-term consequences of cancer, young people have problems in continuing their education, psychological consequences, and they also struggle with infertility, added Rugelj. Meanwhile, the main problem for the patient’s parents is taking care of their children, because even after they are cured, they face long-term consequences. Problems in the partner relationship and fear of recurrence of the disease also often occur.
Executive director of the association Kristina Modic it also points to the lack of professional support for young people between the ages of 18 and 35. “We have psychologists for children with cancer, we have psychologists for adults, and there are not many experienced psychologists for this age group, so the psychological hardships for this group are very great,” she emphasized.
Cancer can also have economic consequences
Meanwhile, according to experts, all young cancer patients also struggle with other forms of discrimination. Author of the initiative on the right to be forgotten and president of the association of patients with lymphoma and leukemia Jaka Cepec he raised the question of the economic consequences of the disease, which affects children and younger people later. In doing so, he emphasized that currently data on concrete economic consequences is not available, which is why it is even more difficult to present the needs to legislators.
According to him, the right to be forgotten is a very symbolic right of ex-cancer patients to keep silent after a certain period of time about the fact that they were ill at any time. “Hiding this fact would, to some extent, probably make it easier for us to get life insurance, which can be very important when it comes to mortgage loans, that is, when we want to solve our housing problem as young people,” Cepec said. He emphasized that in the meantime, the right to be forgotten can also help young cancer survivors with employment, as they very often face discrimination in this area.