November 14, 2008

VICC patient to speak at national cancer meeting

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Caroline Hale will talk about efforts to connect young cancer patients and survivors at the Lance Armstrong Foundation’s annual Young Adult Alliance Meeting in Texas. (photo by Neil Brake)

VICC patient to speak at national cancer meeting

A dedicated young cancer advocate will discuss Vanderbilt's efforts to connect fellow patients at the nation's largest conference on adolescent and young adult cancer.

Caroline Hale, 21, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma eight years ago. This summer, she created the “AYA Cancer Patients & Survivors” Facebook page in partnership with the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center and the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt.

Her presentation was chosen from more than 60 abstracts to be presented at the Lance Armstrong Foundation's annual Young Adult Alliance Meeting in Texas.

“This page and the use of Facebook are innovative and exciting approaches to bring information and support to adolescents and young adults with cancer,” said Debra Friedman, M.D., Ingram Distinguished Chair in Pediatric Oncology.

“As we now cure over 80 percent of children and adolescents and 75 percent of young adults with cancer, there is a growing cohort of survivors who want and need this information, and new media that focuses on social networking is the perfect way to accomplish this.”

The Facebook social networking site has 120 million users.

On the AYA page, patients and survivors can share experiences and find treatment information developed by oncologists, nurses, health educators, community cancer advocacy groups and survivors.

“This conference will bring together many people affiliated with accredited organizations from around the nation who are devoted to helping adolescents and young adults win their battle with cancer,” Hale said.

“As a survivor, it's going to be extremely powerful for me to witness the collaboration and uniting of so many influential and dedicated people, and for this cause.”