NCCN Guidelines for Patients
: Caring for Adolescents and Young Adults
Part 7: Living your life
always on the go? Make these things a priority as
you plan the days, weeks, and months ahead.
Give yourself some goals.
Your plans for the
future don’t have to come to a screeching halt just
because you’re being treated for cancer. In addition
to your bigger life goals, try setting some short-term
goals that you can work toward during the treatment
phase—whether it’s writing in your journal every day,
finally getting to level 21 in Angry Birds, or reading
that book that everyone’s been talking about.
Dealing with doubts
No matter how good you are at trying to stay positive,
there will be moments when doubts creep in and you find
yourself losing faith. When this happens:
Give yourself permission to feel bad.
stinks. You have every right to feel scared or angry.
Talk about it.
Keeping negative feelings bottled up
will just make them grow and heighten your sense
of being out of control. Let friends and family know
when you’re feeling down or frightened. You don’t
always have to be brave.
Work with a professional.
If doubts and fears
become difficult to manage, reach out to a social
worker or psychologist. They can help you work
through your feelings and find ways to cope. If you’d
prefer, you can also talk to a minister, rabbi, or other
clergyperson you trust. Your treatment team can
also refer you to a psychiatrist if you feel that it will
Connect with others who are in the same boat.
There are some things only another person with
cancer can really understand. If your hospital
or community doesn’t have support groups for
young adults with cancer, check out the online
communities at Planet Cancer
org) or Stupid Cancer (
For more one-on-one support, try Imerman Angels
), an organization that
matches and individually pairs a person touched by
cancer (a cancer fighter or survivor) with someone
who has fought and survived the same type
To party, or not to party . . .
Having a social life can be a bit more complicated while
being treated for cancer, but it’s not impossible. Getting
out and spending time with friends will provide a much-
needed reminder that there’s life beyond needles and
IVs and blood tests, and that not everything revolves
around the cancer. But if your pre-diagnosis social life
was filled with late nights and interesting substances,
you’re going to have to make some changes.
Tell your friends what they need to know
doesn’t necessarily mean every gory detail of
your cancer and its treatment. Share whatever
information will help friends understand your new