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I'm too young for this


I am a young adult cancer survivor. We are the ones whose doctors are surprised by our diagnoses. We are told, "Don't worry, it's probably nothing." We are told, "You are too young to get cancer."You are never too young to get cancer. I thought cancer was an old person's disease. I didn't know anyone my age that had had cancer--until I was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 37. I knew I needed an outlet for my emotions, so I went to group therapy. But I just couldn't relate to the older people in the group. Their concerns revolved around things like being able to see their grandchildren and if their kids would be able to take care of them. Young adult cancer survivors are unique. We have issues other survivors don't: Will I ever get used to these scars? How will sex be after cancer? Will I be able to have children? Will I be able to finish high school or college? How do I broach the subject of being a cancer survivor to someone I just started dating?These aren't exactly the topics the over-50 crowd was discussing in therapy.I found the I'm Too Young for This! Cancer Foundation (i[2]y) in 2007, the year I was diagnosed, and it's become the best resource I have found for young adult cancer survivors. I was fortunate to attend i[2]y's fourth annual OMG! Cancer Summit for Young Adults in NYC this past April. I had wanted to attend one of their conferences ever since I was diagnosed, and now I had the chance.I had no idea what to expect. I really wanted to meet the friends I had met online who were attending, and I hoped to gain knowledge from the workshops, but what I got was so much more. I was in a room filled with my peers. People who were exactly like me. Cancer type was irrelevant. We all had the same hopes, fears and side effect issues associated with cancer. It was amazing to be able to talk with someone and not have to explain why having a port scar bothers you or describe chemobrain when you can't find the right words. The conference only lasted two days, but made a lasting impression on me. The 2012 OMG! conference is scheduled for Las Vegas. Vegas will never be the same. Here we come...http://omgsummit.org/2012/ Mel Majoros is a breast cancer survivor and host of "The Cancer Warrior" podcast on Empower Radio. You can read her blog "The Cancer Warrior" at thecancerwarrior.blogspot.com.

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