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 oncology patients, including young ones, are surviving. In the Slovenian association of patients with lymphoma and leukemia L&L with a campaign I’ll be back therefore they draw attention to the needs of young people with cancer experience in returning to life.
Young people who get cancer basically fall into two main groups, namely young people who they are still involved in the education process, and young people who already have their own children. These groups of patients face different challenges, warns the internal oncology specialist Urška Rugelj.
Many problems and obstacles
Colleges often do not listen to students who are struggling with cancer during their education. They lose friends and they 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 have to deal with the 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, therefore they are the psychological distress of this group is 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 emphasized the issue 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 are not available, therefore 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 former cancer patients to keep silent about the fact that they are have ever been sick. “Hiding this fact would probably make it easier for us to get life insurance to some extent, which they are can be very important in mortgage loans, i.e. when we as young people want to solve our housing issue,” Cepec said. He emphasized that, meanwhile, the right to be forgotten is given to young people who they are cancer survivors, it can also help with employment, because they are very often faced with discrimination in this area.