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July 25th, 2008
12:21 PM ET

I care about health care. Do you?

By Melanie Diaz
Medical News Intern

As a 20-year-old college student, I admittedly don't know a lot about health care. I do know that even though I don't have a full-time job with benefits, I'm covered, at least for now, by my parents' insurance plan.

Young people often think we're unbreakable. Some of us don't think twice about our health, so why would we think about our health care? The reality is, just because we're young doesn't mean we don't get sick. There are still health risks out there, and we're all vulnerable to them. Just look at these realities:

– Olympic swimmer Eric Shanteau has testicular cancer. He's 24.  Although this type of cancer is rare, it's the most common form of cancer in men ages 15 to 34, according to the National Cancer Institute.

– The American Cancer Society tells us that since 1998, the incidence of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, has increased 3.7 percent in women ages 15 to 34.

– The American Academy of Dermatology says melanoma has become the most common cancer in young adults ages 25 to 29 and the second most common cancer in adolescents and young adults 15-29 years old.

So when the Commonwealth Fund reports that 13.7 million young adults lack health care in 2006 (click here for more information), making the 19-29 age group one of the largest and fastest growing segments of the population without health insurance, this young adult starts to care about health care.

And now, since I'm old enough to vote, I've started to think about the upcoming election. I'm considering an issue I've never even thought about before - health care. I'm seeing just how relevant it is to both my present AND my future.

What do you think? How old are you? How much do you know and care about health care?

Editor's Note: Medical news is a popular but sensitive subject rooted in science. We receive many comments on this blog each day; not all are posted. Our hope is that much will be learned from the sharing of useful information and personal experiences based on the medical and health topics of the blog. We encourage you to focus your comments on those medical and health topics and we appreciate your input. Thank you for your participation.


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About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

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