Teens with cancer find support at Wellwood

Adolescence is hard enough – now consider the additional impact of a cancer diagnosis on a teen or on a young adult anxious to get on with life.  A grant from HCF is supporting Wellwood Resource Centre to help this vulnerable group.

The Canadian Cancer Society reports that adolescents and young adults have unique needs for psychosocial support that aren’t being met as they straddle the pediatric and adult oncology worlds.  Isolation both from fellow patients and from the day-to-day experiences of healthy friends has a profound effect.

Wellwood’s experience confirms this finding.  Meeting the needs of this group is both a strategic priority and the focus for programs that will bring together adolescents and young adults with similar experiences to ease feelings of isolation and find meaningful support in an accessible, inclusive, safe space.  Families will also find information and support.

Special efforts will be made to address the needs of young women, who have unique physical and psychological pressures due to fears and grief about infertility, body image and relationships.

The project will use Wellwood’s time-tested self-help model, which engages clients in information-sharing, exploration and problem-solving. Project partners include Hamilton Health Sciences, Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre, VON, Canadian Cancer Society, The Well and YWCA.