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World Cancer Day 2024

Every day 7 young people are diagnosed with cancer in the UK. 

A new book, edited by Jane Elfer, ACP member, explores the work of a Psych-Oncology Team in an inpatient and outpatient setting. 

This is a powerful, interesting, and engaging book about teenagers and young adults diagnosed with cancer. The book offers a variety of approaches for young people and their parents, who are in the grip of a most shocking diagnosis.  It is intended it to be read by patients, families and professionals alike. 

The book was written by the multi-disciplinary Psych-Oncology team working in the Teenage and Young adult cancer unit at University College London Hospital (UCLH). This dedicated service had emerged from many years of work by child psychotherapists, child psychiatrists and clinical psychologists. The work they pioneered alongside the medical staff allowed for the birth of a service specifically designed for teenagers and young adults. The book gives an insight into the work of this team from diagnosis until the end of treatment. 

Treating this age group is especially challenging both medically and psychologically.  A body that is still growing and developing hormonally and a mind that is moving towards independence and sexual maturity, requires a specialised approach. Whilst the medical team look at whether an adult chemotherapy regime is appropriate or whether a protocol designed for a child would work better, the psych-oncology team also need to assess what support is required and by whom.

All the royalties for this book will go to the Teenage Cancer Trust. This charity supports young people and their families after a young person is diagnosed with cancer. They offer support via their funded nurses and youth workers through treatment and for up to two years post treatment. The trust also fund specialised units too. For more information please go to: 

Jane Elfer is a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist with 20 years of experience working in this hospital. She completed her professional doctorate in 2017 on the ‘emotional impact of donating bone marrow to a sibling’ which was undertaken with the support of the Haematology team at UCLH.     


Perspectives from a Psych-Oncology Team Working with Teenagers and Young Adults with Cancer - Thrown Off Course, edited By Jane Elfer can be found here.