The Segal Cancer Centre at the JGH has distinguished itself as the only medical centre in Quebec to serve the needs of adolescents and young adults with cancer by providing a dedicated clinic staffed by a multi-disciplinary team.
Recognition for this focused form of care came during a provincial conference on cancer this past May. In the spotlight was a presentation by Dr. Sylvie Aubin, a psychologist and clinician-researcher with the Louise Granofsky Psychosocial Oncology Program at the JGH, and Dr. Michael Palumbo, a JGH hematologist-oncologist and Assistant Director of the hospital’s Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology.
Individuals with cancer between the ages of 18 and 39 are under particular emotional and psychological stress, because they must cope with the disease at a time of life when they are expected to develop their careers, find a spouse or start a family. Even the physiology of cancer is being re-examined, as oncologists discover that tumours in young adults can be significantly different from those in children and older adults.
The psycho-social factors came under particular scrutiny by Dr. Aubin and Dr. Palumbo in Montreal at the spring conference of the Quebec Coalition for Priority in Cancer. According to Dr. Aubin, cancer experts from across the province were impressed by the fact that adolescents and young adults with cancer are seen at a special weekly clinic, where they have access to a sizeable team of healthcare professionals in multiple disciplines.
“It quickly became apparent how well we understand the special needs of these patients and how much we’re prepared to do for them,” says Dr. Aubin.