Cancer centre for adolescents and young adults ‘would fit perfectly’ at new children’s hospital

The outcomes for older teenagers and young adults with cancer could be better if their care was centralised at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin

Prof John Kennedy, of the National Cancer Strategy: ‘Most oncologists feel we need a particular unit jointly run by paediatric oncologists and adult oncologists for adolescents and young adults.’ Kennedy says it would ideally be co-located on a site which had a children’s hospital and an adult hospital.

Prof John Kennedy, of the National Cancer Strategy: ‘Most oncologists feel we need a particular unit jointly run by paediatric oncologists and adult oncologists for adolescents and young adults.’ Kennedy says it would ideally be co-located on a site which had a children’s hospital and an adult hospital.

 

The chairman of the National Cancer Strategy, Prof John Kennedy, says a specific unit to treat adolescents and young adults with cancer “would fit perfectly on to the site of the new children’s hospital” planned for St James’s Hospital in Dublin.

Kennedy, a consultant oncologist at St James’s, was made chairman of the National Cancer Strategy steering group established by Minister for Health Leo Varadkar earlier this year.

Kennedy says there is a cohort of adolescents and young adults with cancer aged 16-21 and “biologically they are not children” and they did not need, or want, to be in a ward with, say, five or six year olds.

Similarly, “they do not need to be in a ward with 70 or 80 year olds”, he says.

The cancers they are diagnosed with are a mix of paediatric cancer but within it, “we can start to see adult cancers too. For example, one person under the age of 20 will get bowel cancer every year.”

Kennedy says adult and paediatric consultants share their expertise and “if we saw an 18 year old with neuroblastoma [usually seen in children] we would be on the phone to Crumlin [hospital] but the patient could not get the treatment they need there”.

“Most oncologists feel we need a particular unit jointly run by paediatric oncologists and adult oncologists for adolescents and young adults.”

He says it would ideally be co-located on a site which had a children’s hospital and an adult hospital.

“It would fit perfectly on to the site of the new children’s hospital,” he says. It would manage the care of the patients and could co-ordinate it so “they do not have to have all of their treatment there and could have it closer to home. This centre would co-ordinate and plan their care”.

Kennedy says: “You must remember this is a relatively small number of people but a very important number of people and it is important they have the best chance of being cured.”

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