Health article

Emotional Support for Young People with Cancer

Receiving a cancer diagnosis and going through treatment can make you feel as if you’re on an emotional rollercoaster. This is especially true for young adults. You may feel shocked, afraid, angry, sad, embarrassed, and lonely as you start treatment. Over the course of your illness you, like many other young people, may also feel hopeful, determined, and optimistic. These are often referred to as the psychosocial effects of cancer treatment. Just as you talk with your treatment team about the physical side effects of cancer treatment, it’s also important to talk about how you are feeling emotionally.

Depending upon your age and cancer type you may be treated at a children’s hospital by a pediatric oncologist, or at a university hospital or medical center by a medical oncologist who treats adults with cancer. A growing number of hospitals, including many NCI-Designated Cancer Centers, offer psychosocial support programs designed for young people with cancer. These programs may include art therapy, music therapy, adventure-based programs, fertility preservation programs, and young adult support groups

Next Steps after a Cancer Diagnosis

As a young person, you’re probably new to the health care system and haven’t yet had to make major health decisions. Use the strategies listed below to gain a sense of control as you begin treatment. 

Learn about your cancer type and treatment options. Being knowledgeable about the type of cancer you have and your treatment options can help you play an active role in your care. There’s a lot of information online and not all of it is relevant to your specific cancer diagnosis or to cancer in young adults. Keep in mind that based on your age and cancer type you may be treated according to a pediatric cancer treatment

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Older Adults Often Unnecessarily Screened for Cancer

by NCI Staff

Many older adults are undergoing unnecessary cancer screenings, a new study shows.

Credit: iStock

Many older adults are being screened for cancer who no longer need to be, results from a new study show.

Based on a nationwide survey, the study found that at least half of older adults had received at least one unnecessary cancer screening test in the previous few years.

The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends that people at average risk of cancer get colorectal cancer screening through age 75, breast cancer screening through age 74, and cervical cancer screening through age 65. 

In general, above those ages, people have a greater likelihood of being harmed by than benefiting from these tests, explained Barry Kramer, M.D., M.P.H., of NCI’s Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, who was not involved in the study.

The term “overscreening” is used to describe the use of such tests past the point where they are likely to provide a net benefit.

People often aren’t aware that there are potential harms from cancer screening, explained Jennifer Moss, Ph.D., from Penn State University, who led the new study, which was funded in part by NCI and published July 27 in JAMA Network Open. These harms can include false-positive test results that lead to unnecessary follow-up procedures. 

“But what we’re particularly worried about for older adults is the harm from the test itself. All of these screening tests are medical procedures that have potential side effects,” Dr. Moss said. This risk of harm is highest for invasive tests, such as colonoscopy.

Studies have shown that the overall benefits of screening, such as detecting cancer earlier when it’s potentially easier to treat, outweigh the likelihood of harms in younger adults. However, the harms increase

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