Offering a Lifeline to Adolescents and Young Adults With Cancer During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The adolescent and young adult cancer community is one that faces life-changing challenges at an age where this type of challenge is not expected, and it is now compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. But there is a lifeline for AYA patients to not only cope, but thrive.
BY Jessica Skarzynski
PUBLISHED April 15, 2020
To help empower those affected by adolescent and young adult cancer, Stupid Cancer aims to end isolation and build community in the adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer community. But now that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced most individuals into isolation, CEO Alison Silberman offers some tips on how the AYA community can stay connected and weather the storm together, while also staying safe.
CURE® recently spoke with Silberman about the unique needs of the AYA cancer community and what the organization is doing to bring people together, especially during AYA Cancer Week, which runs from April 6th through 12th.
Virtual meetups have become a necessary thing, Silberman explained, especially through this public health crisis. Stupid Cancer’s annual conference is also now pivoting to be held entirely online later this year.
Silberman also stressed the importance of staying connected with your healthcare team. It’s critical to be clear about your concerns and your treatment with your doctors in order to stay healthy and safe.
Additionally, the isolation and anxiety that comes through with the pandemic is something that affects everyone, AYA patients with cancer in particular. To combat loneliness, Silberman recommends individuals make full use of the virtual connectivity tools available to them, such as video conferencing.
“It’s so critical in this time to not neglect your mental health and to find good reliable resources to stay connected,” she said. “It’s really important now more than ever to make those connections with family and friends for what seems like the next few weeks, at least.”