The final quarter of 2019 signalled the end of a busy and productive year for the VIC/TAS YCS across our lead and partner sites. As such, it’s timely to acknowledge and thank all of those involved in the care of young people with cancer.
We continue to remain committed to providing the best care to young people, as close to home as possible. To support this, we have expanded our telehealth access to include regional psychosocial consultations and our survivorship program, both through nurse led assessments and monthly multidisciplinary clinic attendance.
Our work with the VCCC has seen the continued collaboration in supporting the Increasing AYA Access to Clinical Trials Program. A recent meeting with the TGA saw a discussion and request for their adoption of the FDA guidance document on the inclusion of adolescents in adult cancer clinical trials. This request was actioned immediately and the TGA has now called for consultation on adoption of this guideline. Consultation details are available on the TGA website: https://www.tga.gov.au/consultation/consultations-adoption-european-union-guidelines-australia with consultation period closing on the 7th of February. We would encourage Youth Cancer Services and affiliated health services to make a response as this has the capacity for significant impact in improving AYA trial access Australia-wide. The group has also released Research Ethics & Governance Guidelines for Establishing a Cancer Clinical Trial With Age Eligibility Encompassing Adolescents & Young Adults which may be of relevance to other health services. This is available at: www.viccompcancerctr.org/assets/What-we-do/Clinical-Trials-Expansion/Documents/adf20149f6/VCCC-AYA-Cancer-Clinical-Trials-Guideline.pdf
Also focusing on our research activity, we recently submitted our annual research report highlighting the breadth of our research activities across the medical & basic science, behavioural/health related quality of life research, patient experience and health service evaluation. Amongst the many achievements were three team members who had first time papers amongst our 15 peer reviewed publications. Our growing research portfolio has been supported by strong collaborations with national health services, academic and NGO partners including the National Youth Cancer Services, Centre for Adolescent Health, MCRI, University of Melbourne, Deakin University, amongst others.
In other news, we are also to finalising an APP that supports young people’s health and wellbeing following cancer treatment. The APP has been funded by the Victorian Department of Health & Human Service, co-designed with young people and developed in partnership with Deakin University. Its content will focus on eight educational topics with content delivered in interactive text, videos with clinicians and young people and podcasts on each topic hosted by young people interviewing expert clinicians in AYA care. The APP will also house a virtual care package, allowing young people to simultaneously receive educational content, set goals related to the relevant topic, track their progress against these goals and record questions/notes that they would like to ask their health care clinicians…. all housed in a customisable environment.
Finally, the Victorian & Tasmanian Youth Cancer Action Board (YCAB) recently submitted their annual report to the Victorian Department of Health & Human Service. This report continues to demonstrate the contribution young people in Victoria and Tasmania make regarding issues affecting young people with cancer. Over the year, YCAB have advised and made recommendations on a range of topics including: the new Victorian Cancer Plan; guidance on the design of an AYA Palliative Care Program at Peter Mac; and partnering in the development of new initiatives to improve AYA fertility and sexual health management. Board members have also recently co-presented with members of our team at national cooperative group meetings and have been appointed as Associate Investigators on a number of recent competitive grants.