Our Cancer Care Coordinators are registered nurses who will help you and your family by: providing information, helping you to understand medical terms or treatment, coordinating the timing of various treatments and activities, getting you in touch with other people within the team or outside who can help, helping to make sure you and your family are heard and understood, and generally supporting you as you access the health and care system. They are often the first port of call if you are experiencing symptoms or want something explained to you about your treatment and care.
Your medical care will be reviewed by a team of doctors (oncologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists etc), nurses and other health professionals so that you can get the best overall care. This often happens at a multidisciplinary team (MDT) meeting which is specially set up for people of your age grouping and/or your cancer type. This means your medical team are working together to find the best treatment and care for your particular disease and circumstances.
We provide medical and nursing care that is based on the best available research evidence. This takes into account factors like your age, your current and past health, the type of cancer you have and your expected response to treatment. Our doctors keep up-to-date with international research and have a lot of experience treating adolescents and young adults with cancer. They are able to call on colleagues within Australia and around the world if they need more advice or need to refer you to another doctor or hospital with the expertise you need.
Cancer treatments like surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy can damage your ability to have children in the future. You may not even have considered the possibility of having children but preserving your fertility (your ability to have kids) is really important. We can provide free or low cost access to fertility preservation services which means that in the future you will have a better chance of having children if you decide that is what you want to do.
When you come to our service we will take time to talk to you about how you are feeling about your diagnosis and how distressed you might be feeling. We can ask you about a range of ways in which cancer might be affecting you, your partner or your family and help you to plan a way forward.
You, your partner or your family might need a range of different support. For example, this could include help with your home environment and family such as: dealing with feelings you and your family have about your diagnosis, working out whether to stay in your share house or move back home, working out how to get to and from the hospital or dealing with symptoms at home. It could be help with study or work such as: getting time off work or study commitments or figuring out how tell your friends and school buddies about your illness and what you need from them. It might be more personal such as: the impact your diagnosis and treatment has on your relationship and sexuality. You could need help with thinking about diet, exercise or how you look because of your cancer treatment or maybe you need guidance and information about drugs, cigarettes and alcohol. Sometimes the help you need is financial such as: where to get assistance with costs of travel to and from the hospital, purchase of equipment or medication or the cost of accommodation for hospital visits.
We have staff who can help you if you struggle with any medical procedures, need someone outside of your support network to talk to, or have any pre-existing mental health issues before your cancer diagnosis. Our psychologists can offer you a range of psychological strategies that can make your experience that little bit easier. Whatever is going on, we want to help you feel emotionally healthy, to keep you connected to your friends and family, and to be participating in normal life activities as much as possible. We can also support your family and other close loved ones to do the same.
Cancer treatment can be very varied depending on the type of cancer you have, and could involve time in hospital and regular outpatient visits. It can have periods of intensity or be stretched out over a long period. Your treatment and how you respond to it can therefore interrupt your school or work life. We can help you to figure out how to manage your work and study commitments, we can talk to your school or workplace, and we can even help you get access to tutors or mentors for education and professional support. We will talk to you about your needs and help you to find alternatives to adapt to your situation.
Our staff are involved in national and international clinical trials and other research which is aimed at better understanding and improving cancer treatments for AYAs with cancer. Clinical trials help to improve the experience, effectiveness and results of cancer treatment, and allow people to get access to new and cutting edge therapies. We can help you get access to clinical trials that might be available and suitable for you and the type of cancer you have.