Healthy Choices

News and inspiration for healthy living in Northern California

May 31, 2013
Twenty-somethings facing cancer show surprising strength

Samantha Cosentino, 23, recently walked into a bicycle shop in her hometown of Chico, with her head hairless from chemotherapy treatments. A clerk asked about her shaved head: "What did you do, lose a bet?" in a glass-half-full sort of way.

To the clerk, Cosentino looked healthy and radiant. But this twenty-something is battling stage 4 breast cancer and is preparing for radiation and another round of chemo at Stanford Hospital.

Last year, Cosentino inspired a leadership class at Marsh Junior High in Chico with her battle with breast cancer, She had told a local newspaper that, at first, doctors refused to take her and her tennis-ball-sized tumor seriously. She pressed forward and finally found a doctor who understood that even young adults can be vulnerable to cancer.

A group of girls from the class went on to organize a fundraiser to help Cosentino pay medical bills. Just last Saturday, they raised about $1,600, said their teacher, Lisa Reynolds."The girls are all walking on cloud nine with the great feeling of helping someone in need," Reynolds said.

Cosentino, who had chemo before surgery and is now starting a round of radiation with a year of chemotherapy to follow, "is a little interview shy at this point," Reynolds said.

But for an idea of what she's going through, see this video from The New York Times about the paper's "Life, Interrupted" columnist, another twenty-something bravely facing the disease and writing about it.

VIDEO: This New York Times video shows Life, Interrupted columnist Suleika Jaouad as she reflects on how cancer affects young adults.

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About Healthy Choices

Cynthia CraftCynthia H. Craft began her reporting and editing career in Columbus, Ohio, after graduating from Ohio State University. She worked at a Dallas, Texas, newspaper as an editor, and then at the Los Angeles Times, as an editor and Capitol Bureau correspondent. After working as editor in chief at the California Journal, Craft went to Lima, Peru, for three years as a visiting professor of journalism at Peruana Universidad de Ciencias Aplicadas. She was a fellow in 2012 at the National Library for Medicine in Washington, D.C. at the National Institute for Health. She's currently The Sacramento Bee's senior writer on health, a position made possible by a grant from The California Endowment.

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Email: ccraft@sacbee.com.
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