Dealing with cancer can be a lonely and isolating experience for young people. Although friends and family may be there to support you in whatever way they can during and after treatment, for many young people experiencing cancer, it helps to talk to people who really understand what you’re going through.
For young people who have a friend or family member with cancer, it can also be difficult to know how to handle it and where you can turn to for support. Having people to share your feelings with can help you to deal with your emotions and be in a better position to support your friend or family member.
There are a number of support groups around the country that offer a space for young people to come together and talk about their experiences, including for those who have been diagnosed, and for those who know someone with cancer.
Support groups for young people with cancer
Finding someone to talk to and getting things off your chest can be a great way to deal with the feelings and emotions that come up when dealing with cancer. Whether you prefer in-person or online support groups, there are a number of options around the country.
CanTeen Ireland are a nationwide support group for young people between the ages 12 – 25 who have or have had cancer. The aim to support, empower, and develop young people who have experienced cancer, and their activities include:
- Weekends away to activity centres in Ireland, the UK, and sometimes further afield, including a trip to Alton Towers every two years
- Support meetings where young people can talk about how cancer has affected them
- Opportunities to meet teenagers who have completed treatment and are now leading normal lives
YouCan Ireland is a nationwide service for young people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. YouCan is run by cancer survivors and services include:
- A private Facebook support group where people can share experiences and advice
- Group support meetings around Ireland
Purple House Cancer Support
Purple House are a cancer support group based in Bray, Co. Wicklow. Their services for young people include:
- A Young Person’s Forum who meet regularly to talk about the issues that affect the under 30 age group
- A Young Ambassadors Programme who work to develop awareness of cancer and educate young people age 16-30
Purple House also offer support to young people with a friend or family member who has cancer.
Cancer Care West
Cancer Care West are a charity organisation offering support to people affected by cancer in the West of Ireland. They run a monthly Young Person’s Support Group in their support centre in Galway, aiming to help young people experiencing cancer feel less isolated.
For young people with long-term illnesses, reaching age 16-18 means moving into adult services. In order to prepare you for the transition from child to adult services, SteppingUp.ie provide information on how to prepare and what to expect.
Support for friends and family of someone with cancer
In order to be able to support your friend or family member, it’s important that you also take care of yourself. Knowing someone close to you is suffering can be difficult to deal with, and there are places you can turn to for support.
In addition to providing support to young people who have been diagnosed with cancer, CanTeen Ireland also support siblings and friends of young people age 12-25 who have cancer. This can include one to one support, support groups, and social events.
Contact CanTeen Ireland to find out what support they can offer.
Cancer support centres in Ireland
There are a number of cancer support centres around the country that provide services to young people who have been diagnosed with cancer or who have been affected by the cancer of someone they love. There is a wide variety of services on offer all free of charge, including professional counselling, mindfulness groups, physical activity programmes, expressive therapies and complementary therapies.
Find out about the centre nearest you:
- Cavan: Cuan
- Cork: ARC Cancer Support House
- Donegal: Cancer Care West
- Dublin: ARC Cancer Support Centres
- Galway: Tuam Cancer Care
- Kerry: Recovery Haven Cancer Support House
- Laois: Cuisle Cancer Support Centre (also serving Carlow, Offaly, Kildare and North Tipperary)
- Limerick: Mid-Western Cancer Foundation (also serving Clare and Tipperary)
- Louth: Gary Kelly Cancer Support Centre (also serving Dublin, Cavan, Monaghan and Meath)
- Mayo: Mayo Cancer Support Association
- Offaly: Dóchas
- Roscommon: Roscommon Cancer Support
- Sligo: Sligo Cancer Support Centre (also serving Leitrim, North Roscommon and South Donegal)
- Waterford: Solas Cancer Support Centre
- Westmeath: Cancer Support Sanctuary LARCC
- Wexford: Hope Cancer Support Centre
- Wicklow: Wicklow Cancer Support Centre