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Over the last couple months I have seen and heard a number of times that 70,000 young people are diagnosed with cancer yearly.

Yesterday on our way home from a hockey game I said to Drew, “With the population of 250+ million people in the US, 70,000 is a sliver.”

“Katie, you can’t compare those two stats. They are not comparable.” Drew says.

“oh yeah. Duh! I have to compare the number of young people in the US with the young people diagnosed.” I respond.

Today I went on a mission to find out the population of young people in America. Turns out this is very difficult.

First, the definition of young people is subjective. The National Cancer Institute defines young people as adolescents and young adults (AYAs) between the ages of 15-39.

The population stats I started to research broke age groups up by 5 year age increments. So I looked to other sources on the US Census website.  This info was very cumbersome. I am not a statistician. I could sit here and do the math to figure out exact numbers, or even ballpark the number. But I thought why am I putting some much effort into this?

I really don’t care what the small percent of chances are of having cancer as a young person are.

What I do care about is the fact that not a lot of resources or knowledge surrounds the issues. While networking on the Facebook I came across this organization, StupidCancer.org where they caught my eye with this statement,

“Big box cancer organizations do not currently fund young adult cancer research or support the most basic of social services to the young adult support community, let alone sponsor or underwrite young adult advocacy groups. If these statistics make you want to puke and you truly want to start helping this new generation of cancer survivors, give to the groups without middlemen, where you know where your dollar goes and there is measured impact. Don’t get lost in a sea of 100,000 people racing for cures.”

My thoughts exactly since my cancer inception!

In the last year, there has been some hope when Huffington Post created Generation Why. With our new normal of social media and instantaneous fixes there is exponential opportunities for change.

You might think change for what? Well change in stigma. Change in young people thinking they are untouchable. Change in the availability of resources. This list is endless. Change is how doctors respond and treat young people. Change in insurance. Change is the buzz word of the century!

Your first step in creating change is to become knowledgable. I think first-hand accounts are most accurate. Read more blogs, then turn to news, then statistics. Then make up your mind. Don’t stop at surface level. Dig deep.