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
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
. For more
one-on-one support, try Imerman Angels atwww.imermanangels.org .
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 atwww.Cancer101.org