Teenage Cancer Trust | June 2020 | Cancer x Coronavirus: The impact on young people
Coronavirus has disrupted the lives of all young people across the UK.
Schools and universities have shut, interrupting education at a critical time. Family, friends and partners have been cut off, breaking social connections. Those taking their first steps into work have found the jobs market stalled. Facing cancer on top of that feels unimaginably tough. Many young people with cancer are also deemed to be in the group most vulnerable to coronavirus, whilst the current evidence suggests that the majority of people their age are generally at less risk – further setting young people with cancer apart from their peers. Many have had to ‘shield’ – isolating themselves completely from others, for up to three months. They’ve told us how difficult this has been.
Even as schools start to return, rules about meeting others relax, and the rest of us slowly start to return to something approaching normality, young people with cancer face an
Living with cancer already puts young people’s lives on hold while their peers move on. Living during a global pandemic adds a further layer of uncertainty and isolation.
We’re deeply concerned about the toll this period has taken on young people already going through one of the hardest times of their life.
The Teenage Cancer Trust has adapted its own Teenage Cancer Trust services,
staffed by specialist nurses and support teams, to the best of our ability to meet young people’s changing needs during the pandemic, including providing much more of our
peer support online.
But we wanted to find out how far young people with cancer feel their care has been disrupted by coronavirus.
I’d like to thank every young person who has shared their experiences for this project.
This report includes some clear recommendations for government and healthcare providers to take on board.
We’re also reviewing our own services to see where we can do more to meet some of the clear needs this research has identified. Creativity, determination and going the extra
mile have helped us to keep supporting young people – but we won’t stop there. As the situation evolves, so will our support so we can keep being there for young people
through this crisis and beyond.
Cancer is tough enough on its own. If we don’t get the next steps right, the long-term impact on young people with cancer will be significant.