Youth Advisory Board members Phoebe Lindner, Ediz Banacan and Chair Kylie Lewis.
Peter Mac’s young patients get some space
Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre now includes a bright, fresh space for adolescents and young adults with cancer.
The ONTrac at Peter Mac centre enables them to meet with friends or family, share conversation and lunch or just sit comfortably to watch TV – away from the often-confronting hospital environment.
The ONTrac at Peter Mac service is dedicated to the needs of 15 to 25-year-olds with cancer.
Design of its new space has been driven by the Victorian and Tasmanian Adolescent and Young Adult Youth (AYA) Advisory Board, the first of its kind in Australia.
Kylie Lewis, AYA Advisory Board chair and former Peter Mac patient, was diagnosed with Ewings sarcoma at the age of 19 and also lost her brother to cancer.
‘At an age when friendships, body image and social life are of such importance, the impact of a cancer diagnosis is devastating,’ said Ms Lewis.
‘A space such as this, during my own and brother’s treatment, would have allowed for further support from peers going through a similar situation.
‘Interactions between young people living with cancer offer a strong support as we can acknowledge, relate to and understand each other’s experiences.
‘As a result of my personal experiences and my determination to see continual improvement of health care services for adolescents and young adults, I see it as a privilege to be a part of AYA.’
Peter Mac won a 2011 Victorian Public Healthcare Awards for establishing the Victorian and Tasmanian Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Consumer Advisory Board.
Minister for Health David Davis said the board enabled the voices of young people, with a cancer experience, to guide service development.
‘The needs and experiences of younger people being treated for cancer are unique and pose particular challenges and opportunities for health services.