Cancer Communication Research Center


It goes without saying that the Internet has been essential when it comes to providing information about cancer. One Google search with the word "cancer" yields over 700 million results. Even with all of this available information, there is one group that is underrepresented in the cancer conversation: adolescents and young adults (AYA). That is quickly changing, thanks to the popularity of social media. Formats like Facebook, Twitter, and personal blogs have not only provided a way for AYA cancer patients to find information, it has also provided them an outlet to discuss their thoughts, fears, successes, and find other AYAs who they can connect with. The New York Times has an online health series called Well, where Suleika Jaouad, a 23 year old woman who was diagnosed with leukemia in March, blogs about her experiences with her diagnosis, treatment, and daily struggles. She discusses her "inbetweenness" in her treatment, meaning she's too old for the pediatric unit, but much younger than most of the patients she is surrounded by. She also candidly discusses her relationships with her doctors, family and friends, and their changing relationship with her. It's a very real and intimate portrayal of how she is trying to navigate a life that is unlike most young adults, but in a format that is accessible and visible to those who are going through a similar experience.

Michelle Henton
Senior Research Assistant, CCRC

Written by CCRC at 11:31




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