Monday 5th December 2016

Edinburgh has been chosen to host the world's most significant conference in the field of teenage and young adult cancer medicine. The conference opened in the centre of Edinburgh at the Assembly Rooms and will run until 7 December, 2016.

The event is due to attract over 350 clinicians and healthcare professionals from across the world, including some of the world's leading experts in teenage and young adult cancer care.

Delegates will hear from researchers on a diverse range of topics including approaches to treatments across the age range of 13 to 24 years; cognitive and psychological research, screening and assessment; the challenges of communicating with young people; advances and innovations in care; and maximising the benefits and minimising the harm of treatments.

Working in partnership with the NHS, Teenage Cancer Trust has led the way in developing services for young people with cancer. Since 1998, the charity has hosted 8 International bi-annual conferences focused on sharing and developing knowledge about young peoples' cancer. A Global Accord has now also been developed between 3 charities, Teenage Cancer Trust, Teen Cancer America and CanTeen Australia, who will host the event annually, with the next event to be held in Georgia Atlanta in December 2017, and in Australia 2018. 

First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, said: 

I am delighted to confirm an additional £2.5m over the next 5 years to improve care for young people with cancer through the Managed Service Network.

"In Scotland, we have long placed high importance on delivering the best possible care to young people diagnosed with cancer. I know what a bewildering and frightening experience this is for teenagers, and it's vital our services are tailored towards their needs in a different way to that of adults.

"In conjunction with the Teenage Cancer Trust, we have several world-class facilities that deliver this, and our Managed Service Network is working with the trust to bring this consistency of care across the country.

"This congress is an opportunity for our specialists to learn from international best practice, as well as share our expertise. I look forward to seeing the outcomes of this dialogue in the coming months."

Siobhan Dunn, Chief Executive of Teenage Cancer Trust, said: "We are incredibly lucky and honoured to have First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, here with us today. It is such a fitting way to open our first Global Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Congress. She has been absolutely instrumental in outlining the vision for developing world class services in Scotland for children and young people with cancer. 

"It is thanks to Nicola who, as Cabinet Secretary for Health, listened to young people and their families and the clinical staff, and then ensured that young people are prominent in the Scottish cancer plan. 

"The Scottish Government have also been key partners in the expansion of our cancer Education and Awareness Programme across Scotland, allowing us to reach many younger people with messages on prevention and early diagnosis.  This really demonstrates how a shared vision and collaboration can improve care for young people with cancer at all stages of their journey.   

"Everything that we do at Teenage Cancer Trust is focused on ensuring that young people with cancer receive the best care, treatment and support. Over the next 3 days, we will hear from experts from all four corners of the globe. By working together internationally, we ensure and encourage collaboration to improve the lives of young people with cancer.

"However, our work in Scotland is not done – Teenage Cancer Trust needs to raise £2,850 a day to maintain all our services in Scotland. Currently, almost half of young people with cancer across the whole of the UK are not treated in within Teenage Cancer Trust units and don’t have access to their expert, specialist care. We intend to provide Teenage Cancer Trust Nurses in Scotland to reach all young people with cancer, where ever they live. To make this happen, we need to raise £20 million a year every year by 2020."

Keep an eye on all the latest updates from the event by following #AYAglobalcancer over on Twitter