Social support in post secondary institutions for post-cancer adolescents
cancer, social isolation, students, post-secondary education
In this article, the researcher looks for various social support services offered at, or by, post-secondary institutions in northern Alberta, for adolescents and young adults (AYAs) who have survived cancer. Due to the cancer treatments, AYAs suffer from several types of effects, both physical and psychological, such as depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, organ damage, cardiotoxicity and obesity. Since cancer treatment is a long and difficult process, AYAs miss extended periods of school and everyday youth experiences, leading to social isolation. By combining social isolation with other physical and psychological effects, AYAs are left in a state of suspension between the maturity they gained by making adult decisions regarding their treatment, and their different social tendencies compared to peers due to missed experiences. Research was conducted on the internet, looking at eight post-secondary websites to find educational and social support services for cancer survivors. Findings revealed no specific services garnered towards post cancer AYAs, but a myriad of various other services for both ‘normal’ students, and students with disabilities. Peer led groups and counselling geared towards post-treatment of illnesses/diseases needs to be implemented in post-secondary institutions to help AYA cancer survivors handle the complex situation of being a cancer survivor, with the added stress of being a post-secondary student.
Presented on April 24, 2017 at Student Research Day held at MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta.
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