#removelabels Blog Series: More Than Just Patients - Youth Cancer Europe (YCE)

#removelabels Blog Series: More Than Just Patients

Hello! My name is Andrea. I am 26 and from Salamanca, Spain, but living in Manchester, UK. I am a photographer and graphic designer, I studied Fine Arts and I want to keep on learning and evolving professionally. My dream is to become an Art Director.

I was 15 when I was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma, finishing my treatment in April 2008. Eleven years have passed, but I still get the “poor thing” type look from people when they find out I once had cancer. Which is why YCE’s #removelabels campaign is important to me.

Survivors need to be seen as people, instead of just patients. I am still recovering from my surgeries, and I need a crutch to walk. When people first meet me they assume I have some kind of sports injury, but every time I explain the real situation, their faces change in a second. Nothing has changed, but the perception they have of you has; you can see that, for a moment, they’ve seen you as a patient.

Cancer is still a taboo subject amongst young people. Maybe not as much as it used to, but for survivors, it turns into a number of obstacles to overcome. Today it’s highly likely that you know someone who has cancer, or someone with a family member who’s had cancer, or someone who’s lost someone else to cancer… the list is endless.

We need to keep on improving all the things that surround the illness. We need to do it for the people that left us, for the people that are now receiving treatment, and for the people that will be diagnosed. We need to keep on working and we need to keep improving.