Straight Talk Among Young Adults With Cancer

CURE, Fall 2010, Volume 9, Issue 3

YAconnect, a new program from The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, offers young adult cancer patients and survivors ways to connect online.

YAconnect, a new program from The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, offers cancer patients and survivors ages 18 to 39 ways to connect online with other patients and survivors. The program includes weekly online chats and an interactive webcast series.

Clare Karten, senior director of mission education at LLS, says the organization recognized the need for programs and services for this population by talking directly with many young adults and from a survey LLS conducted with the I’m Too Young For This Cancer Foundation last year. “We learned that young adults view LLS as a familiar and trusted information source. However, they would like to get information in forums that give them a chance to have dialogues with health care professionals and as with one another,” Karten says.

The Tuesday night chats for 18 to 39 year-olds (8:30 to 10:30 p.m. Eastern) are moderated but informal. Participants chat about their stresses and triumphs as blood cancer patients and survivors. Karten says the issues that come up often relate to dealing with the diagnosis, treatment, and side effects at ages when individuals are developing independence, dating, starting a career or professional schooling, beginning a family, dealing with health insurance, and managing finances.

For YAconnect’s first webcast in this series, LLS focused on finances and insurance issues. An archive of the webcast, including audio and slides from “Navigating Employment and Insurance,” can be viewed at www.leukemia-lymphoma.org/all_page.adp?item_id=607361.

LLS is planning at least two more webcasts this year and will continue with the weekly chats. “We want young adults to know that beyond their treatment, there is support for them with the issues they encounter.” Karten is hopeful that YAconnect will continue to evolve and help meet the needs of this population. “The connection is definitely growing and we’re committed to listening to young adults so we can provide best meet their information and support needs.”