In a recently released study, University of Michigan researchers have concluded that in order for adolescent and young adults (AYAs) who have been diagnosed with cancer to experience diminished psychological distress, they should try and stay as busy as possible with work and other activities during the year after. The researchers attributed remaining occupied with work or school with having a sense of control and social support, serving as a buffer to the stress that comes along with a diagnosis. We found similar findings in our research study last year - 79% of respondents felt that cancer recovery is aided by the routine nature of work.
Getting back to work after a diagnosis is often met with a flurry of emotion, some of which can be mixed. Even for those who feel ready, both physically and mentally, to return, easing back into the routine will take some time. We recommend making an action plan even if treatment is completed, which helps further that sense of control over the unknown. Keeping in mind that things are fluid and changing, it may take some time adjusting to what a lot of survivors call their "new normal" and shift prior ways of doing things at school to accommodate this mindset.
The AYA population has some incredible resources and organizations, many of whom are CAC community partners. Be sure to check out some of our favorites - Stupid Cancer, the SAMFund and First Descents.