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Survivors of teenage cancer

Posts: 5
Joined: Mar 2005

Hi everyone -

I seem to have come across quite a lively chat! Hopefully some of you will be willing to help me.

I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease at 17 and after 12 cycles of ABVD, was given a clean bill of health. What I wasn't prepared for was the psychosocial issues I was dealing with a year later. I experienced severe anxiety attacks and have had bouts with depression. And by the way, I totally relate to relationship problems. I've found at 25, I seem to think a whole lot differently than men my age!!

Currently, I'm a graduate student in the journalism at Northeastern University. I'm writing an article about the psychosocial effects of cancer on teenagers.

I was hoping that some of you would share your experiences regarding any difficulty with relationships, depression, or anxiety.

This would be an enormous help to me. I think there isn't enough awareness about the quality of life issues facing young cancer survivors. I'd love to hear your thoughts!


Melissa :)

Posts: 343
Joined: May 2003

Hi Melissa,
I know what you mean about thinkig differently than those our age who have never been through cancer. It seems cancer speeds up maturity. I wish you luck on your project.
-Michael, acute lymphoblastic leukemia survivor

runs247's picture
Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2004

Hi Melissa,
I was diagnosed with Gardner's Syndrome (colon cancer) at the age of 12 (1984). I have been diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder and I've experienced prolonged periods of depression and had a period in college where I had overwhelming thoughts of suicide.

As mentioned in the other reply, cancer definitely speeds up the maturity process.

Posts: 8
Joined: Nov 2005

I'm 32 and I was diagnosed with a brain tumor when I was 17. The tumor was gone after chemo and radiation. At 25, I had my shunt replaced twice, and was in a coma due to complications in surgery. I have experienced anxiety, depression, and problems with relationships. The main problem I have is a lack of confidence in myself. In the 15 years since my cancer, I have never approached a woman. I wait for women to intiate conversation with me. Thats not an effective way to get dates. Sometimes I feel like having a girlfriend or getting married is an impossible dream. When I am in a crowd, I feel like everyone is watching me and being critical of me. Out in public, it seems like thats all I think about. I often think that some parts of my life has been damaged beyond repair. Its like my life was interuppted in the middle of an important learning and growing period. My life was put on pause at 17, and at 30 it started again. I missed a great deal of my 20's recovering psychologically and physically. I did not experience the things a normal person would in their 20's. In my opinion, that is why I feel the way I do now.

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