Stupid Cancer CancerCon © Portraits by Kaye
Nearly 90,000 adolescents and young adults (AYAs) ages 15-39 are diagnosed with cancer in the United States each year. And while research within this age group is increasing, with age-specific support becoming more prevalent now more than ever, AYAs continue to be under-represented, underserved, and under-resourced compared to their older and younger counterparts.
Unique Challenges for Young Adults
All too often, patients are treated as pediatric patients or older adult patients, masking the unique challenges presented during this stage in life. The challenges that AYAs encounter in their battle against cancer are as diverse as the individuals themselves, further complicating their experiences.
AYAs experience disproportionately higher rates of delayed cancer diagnoses and misdiagnoses than any other age group. This crucial delay can significantly impact their prognosis and treatment.
The financial burden of cancer treatment is particularly heavy for AYAs. This demographic faces higher rates of bankruptcy and often must forego crucial medical care due to prohibitive costs. Non-medical expenses, such as student loans and childcare, further exacerbate this financial distress.
Fertility Preservation And Reproductive Health
AYAs grapple with concerns about fertility preservation and reproductive health. These essential aspects of life can be overshadowed in the treatment process, causing emotional turmoil.
Even in survivorship, AYAs report poorer health outcomes. This includes higher rates of obesity, anxiety, depression, and heart disease. These long-term effects significantly impact their quality of life.
Building a Community
Stupid Cancer is a non-profit organization committed to ending isolation and building a supportive community for those affected by AYA cancer, Stupid Cancer acknowledges the unique struggles of AYAs and the gaps in their care. Stupid Cancer’s online and in-person programs provide education and tools to help AYAs through their treatment and survivorship.
Championing education and empowerment, Stupid Cancer offers a range of knowledge-sharing programs, including the Stupid Cancer Stories, Stupid Cancer Meetups, and Discussion Series. These initiatives not only educate and support AYAs but also provide them with a platform to share their experiences and connect with peers who understand their unique challenges. For both patients and AYAs, having the support of their community to rely on can make all the difference.
Furthering that goal, CancerCon™, Stupid Cancer’s flagship event, stands as the largest gathering of the AYA community. It unites patients, survivors, caregivers, and professionals for a powerful blend of education and connection. In 2023, CancerCon featured both a digital event in April and an in-person gathering in Atlanta in August, with plans underway for CancerCon Live 2024 in Austin next summer.
With Stupid Cancer leading the way, there is a community, a voice, and a platform for them to share, learn, and thrive. Looking ahead, Stupid Cancer envisions a world where everyone in the AYA community is supported, understood, and accepted—and you can help!
Follow Stupid Cancer on social media to help spread the word about AYAs and their mission to make cancer suck less for them. Want to make an even bigger impact? Donate at stpdcn.cr/Donate
Stupid Cancer helps to empower
everyone affected by adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer by ending isolation and building community.