Review: Planet CancerCancer Support, Cancer Websites — By nygal on December 3, 2009 at 4:11 am
Too old for the instant community of a children’s hospital, they still don’t fit in with the over-50 community that overwhelmingly populates adult cancer wards.
Because young adults with cancer are a relatively small group, the difficulty of finding peer support is increased exponentially, forcing many to deal in isolation with issues specific to this age and stage of life: dating with cancer, disclosure to a potential employer, long-term insurance issues, moving back home, loss of fertility, or having to quit school or a newly launched career.
“Like other planets, Planet Cancer rotates regularly between the dark side of night and the brightness of day. All too often, we lose ourselves on the dark side, forgetting that where there is night, day must follow; and where there is life, there is the light of hope and laughter. Although we acknowledge and accept the night, we want to remind you of the lightness of day by recording on these pages the often entertaining, frequently bizarre and occasionally informative experiences and thoughts of your fellow natives on Planet Cancer”.
—Robin Blue, Paul Cox and Heidi Schultz Adams (Dallas, Texas, 1995)
Planet Cancer exists so that no young adult will have to endure such isolation again.
The Planet Cancer Web site provides a unique voice for young adults who have been affected by cancer: fresh and irreverent, but always honest. The site offers information, connections, entertainment and support. The heart of the site is the Forum, a thriving online community where users find and communicate with other young adults around the world about what’s on their minds – from death or fertility issues to dumb things people say.
Their weekend retreat program was developed in conjunction with the Next Step Fund, a group affiliated with Paul Newman’s Hole In The Wall Gang Camp. They bring together young adults for recreation and personal exploration with their peers, helping them forge connections that will sustain them as they move on with their lives, in or out of treatment.
Spreading the word
Their members write articles, attend trade shows, mail information, give speeches and, in general, do everything they can to raise awareness about the unique needs and issues of this underserved population. They actively seek to work with and connect all organizations involved with young adults and childhood cancer survivors, in the interests of sharing best practices and avoiding duplication of effort.
An international network of young adults, ready and willing to help each other through what may well be the most difficult experience of their lives. They know it’s a big dream, but they figure that once you face cancer, there’s little you can’t do.
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