Where will I have my treatment and do I get a say?

Different things will determine where you have your treatment. Usually, it's to do with your age, the type of cancer you have and the services that are available near you. You might not always get to choose but you should be able to ask about your options and explore what the alternatives are.

Why getting care that’s right for your age is important

Being diagnosed as a teenager or young adult isn’t the same as getting cancer in later life. You will have needs that require special knowledge and skill. This might be your medical needs but it’s also about the stuff that’s going on in your life – like your education, work, relationships, emotions, and the role your family plays in your life.

Because of this, the NHS says that there should be cancer services especially for teenagers and young adults (TYA for short). These services are aimed at young people between the ages of 16 and 24.

Where will I get treatment and how is it decided?

Where you have treatment will depend on a number of things like your age, where you live, recommendations from your consultant and which hospital has the expertise to give you the best possible care.

Do I have a say in what happens?

Yes. You always have a say. It might not feel like you do – and that decisions are being made for you. And it’s true that sometimes you won’t have a choice over certain elements. But you should always be able to say, “Stop. I don’t understand. Explain to me why things are happening this way.” This will you to understand why certain decisions are being made – and if you have a choice, it will help you to determine what the options are and get your views heard.

If you feel like you aren’t being listened to by your consultant, tell them. Or ask someone to come in with you and back you up. If things still aren’t better, there are people you can talk to at your hospital:

  • Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) in England
  • Patient Advice and Support Service (PASS) in Scotland
  • Your local health and social care trust’s complaints manager in Northern Ireland.

You have a right for your voice to be heard.

Will I have to stay in hospital all the time?

Some of your treatment may be on an outpatient basis – that is, you will turn up to the hospital clinic for your treatment and then go home the same day. Other times you may need to stay in hospital for a while as an inpatient.

For more details, it’s best to ask your doctors and nurses to explain what is happening, who can provide your treatment, and what your options are.

What care should I expect?

You should receive high-quality care wherever this is provided, and no matter how old you are. You can read more about this in the NHS guide for teenagers and young adults.

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