Cancer Diagnoses Disrupt Social Functioning of Young Adults
New research from the Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands suggests that younger cancer survivors have lower levels of social functioning, years after diagnosis, than their peers. Previous research has pointed to young cancer survivors experiencing overall poor quality of life, but little research before the Radboud University study has focused on the psycho-social troubles young survivors face over time.
Olga Husson, Ph.D., and her colleagues asked 141 patients between 14 and 39 years of age to complete a survey at three different times: when they received their first cancer diagnosis; one year later; and two years later. Data revealed that one in three young cancer survivors experienced low social functioning at each of the three times they completed the surveys. After two years, the respondents' social functioning remained lower than that of the general population—although functioning appeared to improve slightly in the year following the initial diagnosis.
Patients reported increased concerns over how a cancer diagnosis might affect various aspects of their lives, ranging from financial stability and career opportunities to personals relationships and their prospects for starting a family.
According to the American Cancer Society more than 60,000 young adults are diagnosed with cancer each year in the United States, and cancer is the fourth leading cause of death among those between the ages of 20 and 39.
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