This piece is part of Mashable Spotlight, which presents in-depth looks at the people, concepts and issues shaping our digital world.
Jenna Benn sat in her favorite childhood restaurant in Chicago, waiting for the doctor's call. She loved this place; it made her feel safe. She hadn’t eaten there since high school, but that day, Dec. 20, 2010, she came back. She needed comfort.
Her body had been acting strangely. For months, she’d been losing weight, her curves fading into lines. She’d been on a health kick and exercising regularly, but the weight loss was rapid. Perhaps it was the gym that kept her so tired, but she’d always been an active early riser. Then there was the flu she couldn’t kick, a trapped nerve in her neck and an unusual sensitivity to light. At 29, her body seemed to be going haywire.
It was 5:15 p.m. when the waiter took her order. Jenna asked for spinach bread and spaghetti marinara. She rested her phone in her lap, trying to hold her nerves together as she waited, her mind pulling her into the unknown.
As the waiter delivered their food, the phone rang.
Jenna listened to her doctor. Relieved, she gasped, “Well that’s good news!” The tightness in her chest lifted.
She paused, listening to the doctor’s response. Then the tightness returned. “I thought you said, ‘You don’t have cancer,’” Jenna said.
“No, you do have cancer,” came the reply.
Seventy thousand young adults aged 15-39 are diagnosed with cancer each year, representing 6% of the entire cancer population, according to the National Cancer Institute. While cancer is a complex and heartbreaking disease at any point in one's life, being diagnosed in one's twenties and thirties can disrupt major milestones: new career, financial independence, fertility......