Young cancer patients' access to gold standard care secured

Submitted by Ellie_Canteen on 16 May 2024
16 May 2024

Young people diagnosed with cancer will continue getting access to gold standard care through the Youth Cancer Services thanks to the $24.5M in funding announced in the Federal Budget last night. 

“Youth Cancer Services provide young cancer patients with the unique medical care they need as well as specialist mental health support, vital fertility preservation as well as access to life saving clinical trials,” said Peter Orchard, Canteen CEO. 

“Thanks to continued Australian Government investment, the Youth Cancer Services support around 75% of adolescents and young adults diagnosed with cancer in Australia,” he added. 

Cancer in young people is on the rise with a 2023 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report showing that the rate of cancers in 15-24 year-olds (excluding melanoma) increased by more than 50% from 1988 to 2018.  

In line with this report, the number of young cancer patients supported by the Youth Cancer Services has increased by 21% in the last two years alone, from 1,849 in 2021 to 2,250 in 2023. 

The funding announced in the Federal Budget will ensure that staffing within the Youth Cancer Services can be maintained at current levels. 

The Youth Cancer Services (YCS) are based in major hospitals across Australia and receive federal funding through Canteen as well as state and territory government funding. The five lead YCS sites in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide work with more than 25 hospitals and health services across Australia ensuring all young people with cancer have access to the best age-appropriate care and support. 

In addition to the hospital-based Youth Cancer Services, Canteen provides a range of other support services for young people with cancer as well as young cancer survivors. These are completely free for young people and are only possible thanks to generous donations from the community. 

One example is Canteen’s Robots Service, which enables young people to attend school from their hospital bed. Canteen’s vision is to provide a robot to every young cancer patient who needs one. 

Other services include 24/7 online support, specialist counselling, access to career consultants and weekend programs where young people with cancer can meet others going through similar experiences.