Today is the first day of Blog Me MAYbe which means it's MAY I tell you about myself day. First, may I tell you that my blogs will likely always be late on the day of, because I'm on the west coast, and I write them in the morning. So there. There's something. I'm a west coaster!
If you read my previous post this week, you'll know that I've been struggling with my drive for writing after a life altering circumstance. What wasn't in that post, is that I really love my Evil Day Job. Which makes it pretty easy to fall into a 50+ work week pattern. Which makes it pretty hard, at times, to find time to write.
But I'm not complaining. I want to talk about what I do in my other non-writing life. I manage a program for adolescents and young adults with cancer. Okay, so I'm not going to talk a lot about what I do, but rather why I do it, and why it's important.
Most of us write for this age group called "young adult". Which is up to, what? 21? 25? In oncology adolescent and young adult (AYA) is considered 15 to 39. (Yay! I'm still a young adult!) And you probably think to yourself, wow. That sucks to get cancer at that age (at any age, right?). Well here are some super quick facts about AYAs and cancer:
- 70,000 (or 72,000 depending on which set of data you're looking at) AYAs are diagnosed with cancer each year.
- That makes AYAs almost 8x more likely to be given a cancer diagnosis than their pediatric counterparts. (think: A lot of money goes to childhood cancer treatment/trials/etc... the AYA crowd is often forgotten)
- In the last 25 years the 5-year survival rate for AYAs has stayed the same, while rates for older adults and children have had significant increases.
- AYAs are the most un/under insured group of Americans, and often do not have access to the care they need at the time they need it most. One patient I know needed a bone marrow transplant (about a 2 million dollar procedure) and because he didn't have insurance the hospital told him he would need to put $250,000 down unless he could get insurance. Sometimes it takes weeks or months to get government sponsored insurance inline if you didn't have it before a diagnosis. That's weeks and months without life saving treatment. (talk about rationing health care...)
So that's my not so EDJ, and why I love it as much as I love writing. Below are some resources for AYAs, or places to find more information if you're interested, or just want some entertainment.
National Cancer Institute
Oncology Youth Connection
The SCAR Project
The Movie 50/50