Young Cancer Survivors Finding Support From Social Networks

From - March 9, 2018

Young Cancer Survivors Finding Support From Social Networks

FRIDAY, March 9, 2018 -- Social networks and support appear to be stronger among teen and young adult cancer survivors than among their peers who have not had cancer, a new study has found.

Overall, the cancer survivors were found to have more emotional and other types of support and to get more advice on health topics such as physical activity and weight.

The 204 participants in the study included 102 cancer survivors, 18 to 30 years old, who'd been diagnosed with cancer when they were 15 to 30. The others were the same age as the cancer survivors, but they'd never had cancer.

Results of the study were published online March 8 in the journal Cancer.

The findings make sense because cancer "survivors often have strong networks of physicians, friends and relatives to provide advice and support," study leader I-Chan Huang said in a news release from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. He's an associate faculty member in the Department of Epidemiology and Cancer Control.

However, the researchers found that the strength of survivors' social support varied by the type of cancer.

Lymphoma survivors had the most social support, followed by survivors of leukemia and solid tumors, the study found. Those who'd survived brain and central nervous system cancers had the weakest social support -- even less support than among the cancer-free study participants.

"Brain tumor survivors may experience more treatment-related neurocognitive problems that make communication and forming social networks more difficult," Huang said.


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