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NCCN Guidelines for Patients


Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer, Version 1.2017


Living your life

What happens now that I have cancer?

Staying on top of it from the very start can

save you from feeling overwhelmed and help

maintain a sense of control.


Maintain a sense of independence. It may be

an adjustment to spend more time at home,

especially if you haven’t lived at home for

a while or if you have mixed feelings about

being home. If possible, try to create an

environment and a routine that is comfortable

for you.


Set your priorities. This is a good time to

think about what’s really important to you and

where you want to put your time and energy.

What gives you satisfaction? Makes you

happy? Makes you laugh? Is there anything

you’ve always wanted to do, but haven’t

because you were always on the go? Make

these things a priority as you plan the days,

weeks, and months ahead.


Set some goals. Although your plans for the

future can change because you’re being

treated for cancer it is possible, and important,

to set goals for yourself. Try setting some

short-term goals that you can work toward

during the treatment phase. Whether it is

writing in your journal every day, watching

your favorite show, 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 have negative

thoughts and feelings. Cancer stinks. You

have every right to feel scared or angry.


Talk about it. Keeping negative feelings

inside may not be good for you. Let friends

and family know when you’re feeling down or

scared. If you don’t want to talk about how you

feel, you can try other things like writing in a

journal, listening to music, or exercising.


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 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 be helpful.


Connect with others who are in the same

situation. 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 like Stupid

Cancer at

. For more

one-on-one support, try Imerman Angels at .

This organization

matches and pairs you with a person touched

by cancer (a cancer fighter or survivor) with

someone who has fought and survived the

same type of cancer.

The Cancer101 website offers a planner

that can get you started. It includes

sections for test results, insurance

information, symptom tracking,

appointments, and more. You can order

the planner at

or by

calling 646.638.2202.