Teen cancer patient room launched

Back, from left, ex Springbok rugby player Breyton Paulse, Cansas Dorothy du Plooy, manager medical services Dr Granville Marinus, Cansas Anthea Lewis, operational manager of Ward G3 sister Eleanor de Beer and paediatric oncologist, Dr Anel van Zyl. Front, Elena Meyer of Sanlam and head of oncology at X-Block Dr Roshni Mistry.

A room where teenagers with cancer can have treatment, with their parents by their sides, has been opened at Tygerberg Hospital.

The Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) launched the facility on Friday February 14, the day before International Childhood Cancer Day.

The initiative is part of Cansa’s Tough Living with Cancer (Cansa TLC), a support service for children, teens and families affected by cancer.

The teen cancer patient room can accommodate two teens accompanied by a parent or a caregiver, says Cansa’s national relationship manager Cara Noble.

“This is such a needed service for our many teenagers,” said children’s ward operational manager Sister Eleanor De Beer.

“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.”

Cansa’s research department is currently planning a study with adolescents (aged 10 to 19 years) living with cancer in South Africa regarding their health services, psycho-social 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.

According to Cansa’s head of research, Dr Melissa Wallace, institutional policies on the treatment of childhood cancer in paediatric oncology units vary.

Some treat children up to the age of 12 while others do so up to 15 or 18 years before moving them to adult care. Typically, adolescent-specific care is not catered for.

For more information contact Lucy Balona at CANSA lbalona@cansa.org.za, or call 011 616 7662, or 082 459 5230.