Supporting young people with cancer, body and mind.

Supporting young people with cancer, body and mind.

 

The Laura Crane Youth Cancer Trust supports young cancer patients physically, through its targeted medical research, aiming to improve treatments. The charity is going to refocus its second “support” aim to concentrate on the mental wellbeing of patients, ensuring that young people with cancer are being supported as a whole, body and mind.

The charity already funds support projects in hospitals to alleviate feelings of loneliness and isolation in teenagers and young adults with cancer. However, we have recognised a need to increase the focus on the mental wellbeing of young cancer patients.

Poor physical health can lead to an increased risk of developing mental health problems. Similarly, poor mental health can negatively impact on physical health. They are intertwined, highlighting the need to support both the physical and mental health of every young person with cancer.

Our experiences and conversations with young cancer patients strongly suggest that despite the increased conversation organisations seems to be having about the importance of mental health support, the need is still not being met.

  • The mental health problems that arise as a result of cancer are too often side-lined according to a study from the Mental Health Foundation.
  • One in three people with cancer will experience a mental health problem such as depression or anxiety disorders before, during or after treatment.
  • A cancer diagnosis, its associated symptoms and treatment can have a significant emotional impact on people and their families, with fear, isolation, loss of self-esteem and loss of independence having an impact.
  • Mental health problems often arise at the very end of cancer treatment, when patients normally expect to recover, with little or no emotional support at hand.

The charity already funds projects that contribute significantly to patients mental wellbeing, for example we have funded Clic Sargent social workers and provided iPads so mental health support can be offered remotely through FaceTime, meaning the social worker can support many more young people during the working day and access patients in remote areas. The partnership recently launched with Paxman scalp cooling will have a huge impact on the mental wellbeing of young patients. Paxman are generously offering scalp cooling to all young cancer patients with suitable treatments, completely free of charge to the NHS and are dual-branding devices and accessories as Paxman and Laura Crane Youth Cancer Trust.

However, this is just the start and we need to take a lead from the young cancer patients themselves with regards to what more needs to be done to ensure their mental wellbeing is being fully cared for.

Over the coming months we propose to start working with groups of young cancer patients to find out from them what their needs are, what currently works for them and where more support is needed. The Laura Crane Youth Cancer Trust aims to provide that missing support, whether that is face to face support through an appointment or drop in system or whether young patients would respond better to remote support through devices such as iPads, which could of course be delivered very quickly.

How quickly we can start and increase the support of young cancer patients’ mental wellbeing, is dependent on the support we receive from individuals, organisations and companies.

Regular donations enable the charity to plan and commit to long term projects. Companies can commit to the work of The Laura Crane Youth Cancer Trust through its commercial partner membership scheme, Fight Club. In return for a monthly donation, your company would receive numerous benefits including PR and meeting CSR requirements. Please contact Pam Thornes or Helen Mervill to discuss further.

Pam Thornes, Trust Manager – pam@lauracranetrust.org
Helen Mervill, Fundraising Manager – helen@lauracranetrust.org