Teenage and Young Adult (TYA) Cancer Service
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St George’s Hospital is designated for teenagers and young adults with cancer. A dedicated TYA service provides specialised, age-appropriate treatment to teenagers and young adults with cancer.
The TYA service works alongside site-specific oncology and haematology teams to provide specialist, age-appropriate care, emotional, psychological, practical and social support and advice to young people aged 16 to 24 diagnosed with cancer at St George’s Hospital.
Depending on your care needs, young people can have some or all of your treatment as an outpatient without staying overnight in the hospital. If you need to be admitted to the hospital, young people with cancer will preferably be treated on Ruth Myles Ward. You may also receive outpatient treatment at Ruth Myles or Trevor Howell Day Unit.
We run peer support events both in the hospital and off-site, allowing you to meet other young people in similar situations. These are just for young people receiving treatment at St George’s Hospital or linking with those treated at different hospitals through charities like Teenage Cancer Trust.
You can learn about events with other young people through the clinical nurse specialist.
Meet the TYA Team
All members have expertise in TYA cancer and work together with the medical team who plan and deliver treatment to support young people through their treatment and care after treatment.
TYA Lead Clinician
Dr Ruth Pettengell is a consultant oncologist and the lead clinician for the TYA service at St George’s Hospital who, together with the TYA clinical nurse specialist, is responsible for developing the service for TYA patients at St George’s Hospital. Dr Pettengell also works with paediatric and adult medical teams to ensure that all patients have a named consultant who is an expert in their care.
Teenage Cancer Trust TYA Clinical Nurse Specialist
Kyle Herring is the TYA Clinical Nurse Specialist based at St George’s hospital who works collaboratively with cancer-specific teams to ensure the needs of young people with cancer being treated at St George’s Hospital are met and provided with specialist, age-appropriate care. Kyle works closely with The Royal Marsden and Teenage Cancer Trust team. Kyle’s role includes:
- 1 to 1 sessions where young people can discuss any worries or concerns they may have
- Acting as a source of age-appropriate advice and expertise, providing specialist, individualised holistic care
- Offering you an assessment to identify any financial, practical and emotional concerns. This is known as a Holistic Needs Assessment (HNA)
- To provide specialist nursing advice and support to patients and their families following diagnosis and through all stages of treatment
- Visiting you in a clinic or on wards whilst you have treatments or appointments to discuss your ongoing care
- Patient Advocacy
- Supporting young patients to navigate their cancer pathway and promoting a culture that supports self-management of the ongoing consequences of treatment
- Communicate with all speciality teams to ensure cohesive multidisciplinary management of patients
- Engaging young people in peer support activities
- Helping young people have the confidence to get back to leading an active life after treatment
- Liaising with schools, universities and employers and referring to relevant support services, including counselling, welfare and benefits advice.
Teenage and Young Adult Room
Funded by donations to St George’s Hospital Charity, Teenage Cancer Trust and the community group Furzedown FACE, the Teenage and Young Adult (TYA) Room in the Ruth Myles Unit is space dedicated to TYA patients away from the busy general wards and waiting areas of the main hospital.
It is where young people with cancer can meet, study, play games, watch TV, and chill out. It is also a base for a specialist nurse to provide emotional and medical support and therapeutic activities.
Young adults between 19 and 24 years old can choose to be treated at either St George’s Hospital, a TYA-designated local hospital, or The Royal Marsden. You can speak to your site-specific team directly about the place of care or with the TYA team, who can support you in making this decision.
Wherever you choose to have your care, your treatment plan will be discussed and planned in a specialist multidisciplinary team (MDT) meeting to guarantee you are receiving the best treatment.
What is Personalised Cancer Care?
Personalised Cancer Care means your team will support you to take an active role in your cancer care by giving choices and control based on what matters most.
Together with your key workers’ team, like your Clinical Nurse Specialist and Macmillan Support worker, we will aim to help you access the care and support that meets your individual needs from the moment you receive your cancer diagnosis so that you can live as full, healthy and active a life as possible.
You will be invited to complete a Holistic Needs Assessment (HNA) to identify any concerns you may have when you have been diagnosed with cancer. These concerns may be physical, emotional, practical, financial and spiritual.
You will answer a simple set of questions or fill in a checklist about all areas of your life. It is to find out about the concerns you may have. You are often asked to rate how important these concerns are to you. It could help you decide what to discuss first during the assessment.
Once you have completed the assessment, your Clinical Nurse Specialist will discuss your needs, maybe face-to-face in a clinic or over the phone. During the discussion, you and your Clinical Nurse Specialist will agree on the best ways to manage your needs and concerns. They will write down what you have decided in a document called a care plan. They may write it during the discussion. Or they may make notes and send them to you afterwards. Your care plan will record the following:
- The main concerns you talked about
- Suggestions and actions to help you manage your concerns
- Services that may be able to support you, and any referrals that are made
- What is already being done to help – for example, the services you are already using
- Information about who to contact if you need more help
- The details of other health or social care professionals with whom you have agreed to share the information.
You may not wish to complete the holistic needs assessment at this time. The care you receive will not be affected in any way, and we will be happy to discuss this again in the future
Health and wellbeing information and support also include:
- Access to the Macmillan Information & Support Centre to find out what support is available in the community, e.g., practical, financial, and how to access it
- Help with understanding cancer and its treatment and how to manage its impact through videos and workshops run by healthcare professionals at St George’s and in the community.
- Attend wellbeing activities which are great opportunities for you and your carers to get together with others affected by cancer.