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New Support Room and Research Study for Teens Affected by Cancer

Afrikaanse Media Vrystelling

13 February 2020 – CANSA is excited to launch one of the few teen cancer patient rooms in the country, at Ward 3, Tygerberg Hospital, as part of its CANSA TLC (Tough Living with Cancer) support service to children, teens and families affected by cancer on 14 February 2020, just ahead of International Childhood Cancer Day (15 February).

Cara Noble, CANSA’s previous National Relationship Manager: Service Delivery says, “We’re pleased to launch the teen cancer patient room that can accommodate two teens accompanied by a parent or a caregiver. As children in Ward G3 older than 14 years are moved over to X-Block with adult patients, the need arose to continue providing support to these teens. They were too old to be in Ward G3, but the youngest by far in X-Block.”

Operational Manager of Ward G3 at Tygerberg Hospital, Sister Eleanor De Beer adds, “This is such a needed service for our many teenagers we serve here. We’re grateful and excited that we can offer them a warm and welcoming place to stay while they are on their treatment journey. Our parents appreciate the opportunity to still be with their children, even though they are teenagers, this is not possible in the adult wards.”

Professor Mariana Kruger (Head of Paediatric Oncology at Tygerberg Hospital) and Dr Fatima Bassa (Divisional Head of Clinical Haematology at X-Block) were instrumental in paving the way for CANSA TLC to extend its services to young patients at X-Block.

CANSA TLC has been active in Ward G3, Tygerberg Hospital since June 2016 as the current preferred service delivery provider offering a support group and craft activities in partnership with Sisanda Foundation. CANSA further introduced monthly food parcels to needy families and outreach activities and outings with oncology children as well as including their siblings and parents.

CANSA’s research department is currently planning a study with adolescents (aged 10-19 years) living with cancer in South Africa regarding their health services, psychosocial and informational needs. Clinicians across the country from paediatric oncology units and some adult oncology units treating older adolescents, will be participating in the study. It will involve a quantitative survey on psychosocial health outcomes, health services and information needs and a qualitative component involving focus group discussions with the adolescents using a visual or creative methodology.

According to Dr Melissa Wallace, Head of CANSA Research, “In South Africa, institutional policies on treatment of childhood cancer in paediatric oncology units vary with some that treat children up to the age of 12 years while others do so up to 15 or 18 years before moving them to adult care. Typically, adolescent-specific care is not catered for. CANSA recognises that adolescence represents a distinctive developmental phase characterised by complex physical, cognitive, psychological and social changes and therefore, the experiences and needs of adolescents diagnosed with cancer may be significantly differentiated from cancer occurrence during other life stages.”

“It’s so important to study the particular needs of adolescents living with cancer and how these can be addressed. It’s anticipated that study outcomes will help to provide an evidence base that informs the work of support organisations (NGOs) and may help to inform clinical support service provision. It may also provide indicators that support advocacy for programme and policy change to better orientate health services to these needs. We plan to use this information to inform the development of an intervention to address adolescents’ information and psychosocial support needs through CANSA TLC, that can be delivered by our staff (and others) in treatment units and community-based programmes,” concluded Wallace.

(For more information, please contact Lucy Balona, Head: Marketing and Communication at CANSA at email Call 011 616 7662 or mobile 082 459 5230.)

CANSA offers a unique integrated service to the public and to all people affected by cancer. CANSA is a leading role-player in cancer research and the scientific findings and knowledge gained from our research are used to realign our health programmes, as well as strengthen our watchdog role to the greater benefit of the public. Our health programmes comprise health and education campaigns; CANSA Care Centres that offer a wide range of care and support services to those affected by cancer; stoma and other clinical support; medical equipment hire, as well as a toll-free line to offer information and support. We offer a Tele Counselling service in seven languages free of charge. We also supply patient care and support in the form of 8 CANSA Care Homes in the main metropolitan areas for out-of-town cancer patients and CANSA-TLC lodging for parents and guardians of children undergoing cancer treatment.

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