It’s about knowing the answers to the questions you don’t think of

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is 15-40 Connection’s goal?

To educate everyone on how to recognize the early warning signs of cancer and become an active member of their health care team.

How is 15-40 Connection empowering early cancer detection?

15-40 Connection is driving a new cancer conversation that builds awareness of what a cancer symptom can look or feel like and motivating people to act. 15-40 Connection is talking about what happens before people are diagnosed with cancer. Conversations with audiences often start with the question “Would you recognize a cancer symptom?” Most people admit they would not. 15-40 Connection shares 3 steps that can help YOU recognize the early warning signs of cancer.

What is a new cancer conversation?

A new cancer conversation is a new way to talk about cancer and think about your role in cancer detection. It starts with the question, “Would you recognize a cancer symptom?” Many organizations focus on research, treatment and aftercare support for cancer. 15-40 Connection’s new cancer conversation teaches 3 steps to early cancer detection:

3 steps to early detection


What is 15-40 Connection’s motivation?

Since 1975, cancer survival rates for teens and young adults aged 15 to 40 have barely improved. Delayed diagnosis is a main reason for this problem.

How is 15-40 Connection unique from other cancer organizations?

There are 4 main aspects that make 15-40 Connection different from other cancer organizations:

  1. 15-40 Connection is increasing awareness about how individuals can recognize the early warning signs of cancer, so it is focused on what happens before a person is diagnosed. Most cancer organizations focus on cancer research, treatment or provide support after a person is diagnosed with cancer.
  2. The 3 steps to help people recognize the early warning signs of cancer are relevant for all cancers, whereas many organizations focus on just one type of cancer.
  3. People ages 15 to 40 are our motivation. Due to the alarming statistic that cancer survival rates for teens and young adults aged 15 to 40 have barely improved since 1975, 15-40 Connection began with a focus on reaching young adults in the United States before they are diagnosed with cancer. This age group is traditionally an overlooked population by the medical and cancer communities. However, our education benefits everyone at every age.
  4. 15-40 Connection is playing an important role in giving you knowledge to recognize a cancer symptom, so you can be diagnosed earlier, when cancer is more treatable.

What if I’m under 15 or over 40 years old…?

15-40 Connection education is for you too! Being able to recognize a potential cancer symptom and becoming an active member of your own health care team is important for people of all ages.

Why don’t people talk about cancer symptoms?

Early cancer detection saves and changes lives, but you have to be able to recognize the early warning signs. Cancer symptoms do not fit neatly on a checklist. They are often first noticed as a subtle and persistent change in your normal health. Not recognizing that these changes need attention, and not understanding when to seek medical attention in response to a subtle health change, leads to the uncertainty that is the beginning of delayed diagnosis.

15-40 Connection teaches what cancer symptoms can look or feel like through storytelling. Our amazing and courageous young adult cancer survivors share with audiences the different ways cancer symptoms can look or feel, as well as obstacles many have to overcome to reach a diagnosis.

What are common reasons for the delayed diagnosis of cancer?

Delayed diagnosis can be caused for a number of reasons:

  • Lack of awareness of what a symptom can look or feel like
  • Feeling invincible (superhero syndrome) and a habit of minimizing symptoms
  • Medical professionals may hesitate to consider a cancer diagnosis when a patient presents with vague symptoms
  • Not being honest with medical professionals about symptoms…including embarrassing ones
  • Feeling intimidated by medical professionals, which results in not being open with your doctor and being afraid to ask questions

Why is it important to know my family medical history?

If your family has a history of a particular type of cancer, you may be at higher risk. You can’t control your genetics, but you can be informed and take precautions.

Check out the US Surgeon General’s interactive medical history tool: My Family Health Portrait

What habits increase the risk of cancer?

Habits that increase the risk of cancer include:

  • Smoking, chewing, or using tobacco products
  • Tanning (using tanning beds or sun exposure)
  • Risky sexual behavior that can lead to STDs such as HPV and Hepatitis B or C
  • Being overweight as defined by your waist size or BMI
  • Having a diet low in fruits and veggies
  • Binge drinking

What can I do to reduce my risk of cancer?

No one knows exactly what causes cancer, but some things you can do to reduce your risk of cancer and also improve the chance of detecting cancer earlier include:

  • Have an regular physical, so you can benchmark your health
  • Women should have regular Pap tests to benchmark their reproductive health
  • It is recommended that preteen boys and girls at age 11 or 12 should have the HPV vaccination
  • Eat well
  • Exercise often
  • Wear sunscreen and protective clothing when in the sun
  • Don’t use tobacco products
  • Don’t use tanning beds

What if it’s not cancer?

Great! You may learn there is another cause of your health change or you may find out you are fine. Either way you have done the right thing if you noticed a change in your health and consulted with your doctor. You may have benchmarked a new baseline of what is normal for your health – and that is important too.


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