Identifying the needs of childhood cancer survivors as they approach adulthood

Our objective

The Olivia Hodson Cancer Fund’s objective is to provide, “Support for research and clinical advancements within the departments of Oncology, Haematology and Bone Marrow Transplant at Great Ormond Street Hospital”.

Identifying the needs of childhood cancer survivors as they approach adulthood

An OHCF-funded study will help healthcare professionals at GOSH understand the ongoing needs of children who have survived cancer, thereby improving the care they receive as they enter adolescence.

Increasing success in cancer treatments means that 1 in 700 children today is a cancer survivor. Usually, these children have been subject to a combination of chemotherapy and irradiation and may have undergone bone marrow transplantation, all of which can have later effects on their development as they enter puberty.

Specialised clinics, which call on close collaboration between oncologists, endocrinologists, radiotherapists and psychologists, aim to provide holistic care for patients at this stage. The GOSH Late Effects Service, for example, focusses on a spectrum of disorders ranging from precocious (early) puberty to delayed, arrested or absent pubertal development, working in partnership with parents to help children through these turbulent years.

Because each young person and their family cope with these conditions differently, it can be difficult for staff to develop appropriate, sensitive and meaningful care that supports them in an effective and timely way. With the help of funds provided by OHCF, a clinical nurse specialist will undertake a project to improve healthcare professionals’ knowledge and understanding of the individual needs of these patients, with the aim that future care can be tailored more closely and that the right support services can be offered.