How can a young person get cancer

Life After Cancer - When It Affects Young People

"Of course there is the fear that I will get sick again and that my studies will be ruined. But you shouldn't think about that, otherwise I would have to sit at home and wait for something to happen again. And that's complete nonsense!"Andrea Voss wants to approach life positively. Her goal: to study speech therapy and later have her own practice. In addition, the 35-year-old from Willich is involved in her own association for other cancer patients. But sometimes all of this is not easy for her. Because twice defeating lymphatic cancer - that took a lot of strength.

Hospital instead of your own booth

Around 15,000 young adults between the ages of 18 and 39 develop cancer in Germany every year, according to the "Foundation for Young Adults with Cancer". Malignant tumors of the lymphatic system, skin cancer, and testicular cancer are cancers that are common in young people. "Many of these young people are in a phase of life where they cut themselves off from home and take their lives into their own hands", says Dr. Pia Heussner, psycho-oncologist from Munich,"and then they are again in a situation where they are extremely dependent on the help of other people. "The disease completely disrupts the life plans of many.

The desire to have a child of their own

"I would also have liked to have had a life based on the motto: education, marriage, career, buying a house, having children", says Andrea Voss. But Andrea cannot have children of her own after the second chemotherapy. Medicines that fight cancer can damage fertility. They intervene in cell division, which also affects the germ cells. In men and very young women fertility often returns over time, but many women thirty and over do not go back to their menstrual cycles after chemotherapy.

Maintain fertility

By freezing sperm, egg cells or ovarian tissue, cancer patients can increase their chances of having children of their own despite chemotherapy. Because egg cells are very sensitive, this does not guarantee a later pregnancy. Another problem for many patients: the costs of this treatment are not fully covered by the health insurance companies. It costs several hundred euros for men, and up to several thousand euros for women - for many young female patients this is hardly affordable.

After cancer comes worry about money

Even after healing, young cancer patients often have financial worries. While many older cancer patients have a secure income, younger ones are still in the middle of their training or are just beginning their careers. "Financial uncertainties can affect the quality of life and possibly also the recovery process," says oncologist and social medicine specialist Dr. Ulf Seifart, who is involved in the "Foundation for Young Adults with Cancer". That is why it is important to give young patients good advice on financial and social issues. The foundation has the "Young cancer portal"in which experts answer questions on the topics of money, jobs and social law.

Study with "Chemobrain"

Andrea Voss from Willich had to take out a loan to finance her studies. "I fought hard to get my degree", she says, "but I'm just noticing that I'm reaching my limits when it comes to attention. I find it difficult to learn."Such difficulty concentrating are typical for cancer patients, many speak of their" chemobrain ". Whether these problems are actually triggered by the drugs in chemotherapy is controversial. Perhaps the traumatic experience of the disease is also to blame. One thing is certain: exhaustion and difficulty concentrating make it Many young patients find it difficult to build a new life for themselves after the illness. A new hobby helps Andrea to recharge his batteries for her life after the illness - sailing: "When you leave everything else behind and only see water and no more land in sight - then you realize how strong you are and what you can do."