NICE has developed guidance on the healthcare that should be provided to children and young people with cancer. NICE recognises that the needs of children and young people with cancer are different from those of older adults with cancer. For example, during childhood and adolescence, physical changes occur that may affect the type of cancer present, how it needs to be treated, and how well the treatment works. Children and young people also undergo psychological changes that may influence their emotional response during and after treatment.
The aim of this guidance is to ensure that children and young people with cancer get the best possible care and the care that is most appropriate for their age.
The key recommendations are:
- Care should be coordinated across the whole of the NHS and be available as close to the patient’s home as possible
- Cancer networks should ensure that they meet the needs of children and young people with cancer
- Multidisciplinary teams should provide cancer care
- Each child or young person with cancer should have a key worker
- Care should be appropriate to the child’s or young person’s age and type of cancer
- Time in the operating theatre and a children’s anaesthetist should be available when needed
- Children and young people with cancer should be offered the chance to take part in research trials
- Treatment should be based on agreed protocols
- A register of all cancers in people aged 15–24 should be urgently considered
- Cancer networks should ensure there are sufficient specialist staff