Google+ Hangout: Coping with Cancer as a Young Adult

GoogleHangoutScreenShot1-2Karen Fasciano, PsyD, director of the Young Adult Program at Dana-Farber, recently joined young adults with cancer from across the country for a Google+ Hangout to discuss the challenges of facing cancer as a young person.

“Cancer is different when you are building your adult life,” said Fasciano. “[Cancer] can cause high levels of emotional distress – sadness, anxiety – which can be somewhat overwhelming. Often young adults need help coming up with new coping strategies.”

Heidi Floyd (@followheidi), Bret Hoekema (@brethoekema), Allie Morse (@allieemorse), Renee Nicholas (@reneenicholas), Alex Niles (@alxniles), and Tara Shuman (@tarashuman) joined Fasciano on July 30 for the hour-long virtual hangout, during which they discussed where they found support, dating and maintaining relationships, family planning, diet and exercise, and the desire to “pay it forward” to newly diagnosed young adults,

“There’s no right or wrong way to do this,” said Fasciano of coping with cancer. “Professional support is one option, and many young adults also get support from peers who have gone through treatment, family, friends, and spouses.”

Bret Hoekema, who blogs about his cancer experience, advised young adults with cancer to, “Panic, that’s cool. Get it out. And then get back to living. Your life is still yours to create.”

“I’m still the same person I was before diagnosis,” he added. “Cancer doesn’t change who you are, but it can and should inform who you will be.”

Watch the full hangout for more insight from our panel of young adults:

Save the date for our first @DanaFarberYAP Twitter chat on young adults, cancer, and a changing worldview on Tuesday, Aug. 12, 8 p.m. EST. Follow along using #YAPchat.