To better understand the help-seeking behaviour and information needs of young people with cancer, and how quality support and information can help them build and maintain resilience. To raise awareness among health and social care practitioners of young people’s information and support needs.
A review of relevant literature was undertaken to understand the evidence base on help seeking and resilience and its applicability to young people with cancer.
138 young people with cancer were consulted through an online survey (124) and a focus group (14). All participants were self-selecting and identified through CLIC Sargent’s networks. All had been diagnosed with cancer in the UK between the ages of 16 and 24, or were currently within that age range.
Interviews were conducted with academics and practitioners to understand their views of help-seeking behaviour and resilience among young people with cancer.
Access to quality information is key to helping young people with cancer feel confident managing their illness and building resilience.
Young people can feel anxious when their treatment ends and need more information and support at this point
The source of information young people choose depends on the topic; 96% of survey respondents use the internet to look for information and advice for themselves; 74% of the young people would want to speak to a healthcare professional if they had a problem that was worrying them.
Young people need a suite of support tools available to them.
It’s useful to conceptualise resilience as an outcome: the outcome of successfully coping with stressful experiences. ‘Resilience’ is often linked to ‘coping’ and ‘competence’. Approaches to building resilience include those focused on individuals and those that take the wider health and social care system into account. Both approaches are relevant to young people with cancer.
The research has enabled CLIC Sargent to reflect on its services and identify ways to improve support for young people. We also propose priorities for change for the wider health and social care sector, to move us all towards a system of support that fosters resilience in young people with health conditions such as cancer.
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