Saturday, May 29, 2010

An Interview with the 15-40 Connection

While we were researching Health Week we were stunned to discover that cancer is the leading cause of death among young adults in the United States. We were lucky enough to hook up with the 15-40 Connection a nonprofit based in Worcester Massachusetts who is fighting to change it. Below please find my interview with the 15- 40 Connection. What You Can Do would like to say a special thank you to Jim Coughlin Sr. and Tricia Laursen for all of their help.

1) What is the 15-40 Connection and how was it created?

The 15-40 Connection is a nonprofit organization raising awareness of the fact that cancer is the leading cause of disease-related death among young adults. Cancer survival rates have remained nearly unchanged for 35 years in the 15-40 age group. This is in sharp contrast to cancer survival rates for children and people older than 40 over the same period of time, which have increased by 30 percent.

2) Why is cancer the Number 1 cause of death for people between the ages of 15 and 40?

On the front end, it really boils down to delayed diagnosis. We all know that late stage cancers are more life-threatening. Why the delay? Young adults tend to ignore symptoms and often consider their bodies invincible and immune to disease. They don't know that subtle changes in your health can be symptoms and they put off consulting a doctor. This is complicated by health care providers who do not consider cancer in young adults when faced with ambiguous symptoms. A delayed diagnosis gives cancer time to progress to more advanced stages.

3) How do we begin to change this?
15 to 40-year olds need to know that 70,000 of their peers in the US are diagnosed with cancer every year. It happens. Go to the doctor regularly and discuss your family history with your doctor, be aware of your normal health and call your doctor if you notice a change. Have the courage to self-advocate if your instincts tell you something is wrong and you don't yet have a diagnosis. Check yourself! Learn how at

4) What could a person do to help you and to get involved?
Spread the word, spread awareness. Ask your friends to become more aware of their health and fan the 15-40 Connection on Facebook. Until June 1, the 15-40 Connection will receive $1 to help spread cancer awareness for every Facebook it receives Help your peers become aware of the importance of their health. Send the 15-40 Connection a text or video blog; share your story. People learn from others experiences. We'd love to hear your ideas at or

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