#removelabels Blog Series: My Cancer Doesn't Define Me - Youth Cancer Europe (YCE)

#removelabels Blog Series: My Cancer Doesn’t Define Me

Hi! I’m Kat, I’m twenty-three, and I live in London. Writing is my passion and I’m also involved in advocacy for young people with cancer.

I was diagnosed at twenty-two with angiomatoid fibrous histiocytoma, for which I’m still under active treatment. My cancer is considered incurable, and I will potentially spend the rest of my life on treatment.

But this doesn’t define me: having cancer is not the most interesting thing about me. Before I consider myself as someone living as cancer, I’m a writer, an advocate and a caring friend.

YCE’s #removelabels is important to me because I want the rest of the world to see me as I see myself, and not as my diagnosis.

It’s really important for young people to be able to move past the label of ‘cancer’ for their own development.

On a personal level, I remember going out with a group of friends for dinner and they all had families and jobs. Even though they understood that my diagnosis made things difficult, I still really wanted to not just be the friend with cancer. I wanted to be there and not worry about how I looked, or whether what I ate would make me feel ill. I just wanted to enjoy the moment the same way everyone else did.

Cancer is something that happens to you, and it’s serious and can be traumatic, but when society stops viewing us as simply people with cancer and instead as complex individuals with unique stories, then we can change our perception of ourselves, too.