Tuesday 22nd August 2017
Teenage Cancer Trust is launching its Nursing and Support Service to reach out across Scotland and deliver specialist age-appropriate care to every young person with cancer, no matter where they live. Currently, only around half of the 200 13-24 year olds diagnosed in Scotland each year have access to the dedicated young person's cancer services in West and South East Scotland. Our new Nursing and Support Service will change this.
We are recruiting Clinical Nurse Specialists to work across Scotland, supporting local young people with cancer in areas where they may not otherwise be reached. These nurses will know every young person with cancer in Scotland and ensure that their psychosocial needs are discussed nationally and met locally.
We are working in partnership with 4 NHS Boards across Scotland to recruit new Clinical Nurse Specialists in:
- Aberdeen Royal Infirmary (NHS Grampian)
- Ninewells Hospital (NHS Tayside)
- Western General Hospital (NHS Lothian)
- Raigmore Hospital (NHS Highland)
We will also provide funding for improvements to the facilities and spaces that young people with cancer use within local hospitals. We know that it's absolutely essential that every young person with cancer is reached and no young person faces cancer alone.
Currently, we provide specialist age appropriate care in hospitals and expert staff to support young people with cancer in Principal Treatment Centres across the UK. But this service can only reach around 50% of all the young people diagnosed each year. This means that not all young people have access to much needed age-appropriate care.
Our new specialist nurses will support people like Wendy Kay, of Perth, who was diagnosed with Stage 3B Hodgkin Lymphoma at just 17 years old. When first diagnosed, Wendy experienced cancer treatment in local hospitals that didn't have specialised cancer support for Teenage and Young Adults (TYA). But when Wendy relapsed, she was treated on our unit in Glasgow Beatson Hospital where she met other young people with cancer and was supported by an expert TYA nurse and a Youth Support Coordinator.
Before I was introduced to Teenage Cancer Trust, I was in isolation for my transplant and I was often far too ill for my friends and family to come visit. The adult ward I was in was very busy and I was offered no psychological help. I had to get through it myself with no local young people support groups.
"The first time I met another young person with cancer was when I went to Teenage Cancer Trust’s Find Your Sense of Tumour conference. I arrived not knowing anyone. But by the end of the weekend I felt like my whole group was family and none of us wanted to leave. We spent the last evening with the other groups having a fancy dress party where we all had such a laugh.
"Being supported by Teenage Cancer Trust was a lifesaver. I have met some of the most amazing people ever and made friends for life.
I really do think every young person who is diagnosed with cancer deserves to be supported by Teenage Cancer Trust - they really do make all the difference. The support I received from Teenage Cancer Trust has completely changed my journey
and they are a large part of why I am still around today, because they really did save me."
Read Wendy's story in full
Liz Watt, Teenage Cancer Trust National Lead Nurse for Teenagers & Young People with Cancer in Scotland, said:
"We are rolling out Teenage Cancer Trust’s new Nursing & Support Service to reach young people with cancer like Wendy and provide them with the specialist age appropriate cancer support we are currently able to give in other areas of the country. This new service will see additional teams of Teenage Cancer Trust nurses taking specialist care beyond the Teenage Cancer Trust units, to wherever young people with cancer are being treated, whether that’s in their local hospitals, at home or elsewhere."