Specialist services for TYA with cancer: how do they contribute to better outcomes


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Faith Gibson
Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and London South Bank University, London, United Kingdom

Abstract

There has been a rapid expansion in the availability of services for Teenagers and Young Adults (TYA) with cancer in the UK in recent years. The national policy agenda in England and the international research community all emphasise the need for a substantial body of research to identify the benefit of these specialist services. Although some published work suggests young people benefit from receiving care in a specialist unit, it has not been determined how far this approach to the delivery of care improves treatment and influences the quality of survival. This and other questions remain to be answered. If we are to prioritise developments, target finite resources in ways that will benefit young people effectively, and provide evidence to the international community to inform and shape services we need to know if specialist services as they are currently delivered are responsive, effective and appropriate.

 

This presentation will draw on published work, in addition to emerging findings from a 1-year feasibility study undertaken in the UK in order to present two perspectives on the benefits of specialist services, those from professionals who deliver the service and also from young people who have been or are currently receiving these services. This data will be predominantly qualitative to present these two perspectives in some detail. The presentation will also prioritise the narrative of experience as we seek to achieve an integrated approach to TYA cancer care.

 

As professionals we continually seek to adopt an evidenced based approach to care, yet we have limited evidence to draw upon. We need to find a way to ensure best practice is built upon in the longer term, and that evidence supports our goal of optimising care and improving outcomes in TYA cancer care.