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Brad G

 
Brad G.

Many people think that the experience of cancer ends with the last chemotherapy or radiation treatment. But after fighting squamous cell carcinoma at age 26, Brad G. wants people to know that recovery is itself an important stage of the cancer care continuum that the system needs to address.

“More young people are being diagnosed with cancer. The good news is that the majority of young folks beat cancer, but then what happens?” he asks. “We need help to get back to our careers and get back to our lives.”

He contrasts recovery to the active treatment stage of cancer. “When you are in the system, you don’t worry about when you will see the doctor next because you see him every day. But when you get released, it can be like falling into an abyss.”

Brad’s intensive radiation treatments left him unable to speak, emaciated, weak and in a lot of pain. “After treatment, I had to build myself back up physically, mentally, emotionally and financially. But there wasn’t much guidance or support available. I had to find my own network of services.”

Not only would he like to see more programs and services available for survivors, especially young people in recovery, he also thinks patient navigators should be available to help people find and access services that are currently available.

“Recovery is a tough process. If you have as much information as possible about how to get back to normal and what your quality of life will look like then, then it really helps when you come out the other side,” he says.