This site is intended for health professionals only

Call to help young cancer patients

A lack of children's community nurses and social workers is resulting in young cancer patients spending more time in hospital than they need to, a charity has said.

A survey by CLIC Sargent found that almost half of families questioned felt they did not get enough support at home to care for a child with cancer, leaving them feeling isolated, frightened and unable to cope.

This resulted in young sufferers staying in hospital for longer and having to return unnecessarily for minor treatment.

CLIC Sargent, which cares for children and young people with cancer and their families, called for improvements to community care and support.

The charity said this would allow young cancer patients to be treated at home or as close to home as possible.

The majority of youngsters with the illness (97%) would like to go home during treatment to be with their family and attend school, the survey, which marks the beginning of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, found.

CLIC Sargent said the level of services varies across the country.  One in three families in the north and south-east of England felt care was inadequate, while most in the south-west were satisfied with the support provided.

Copyright © Press Association 2008

CLIC Sargent