Dr Bob Phillips, Honorary Consultant in Paediatric and TYA Oncology at Leeds General Infirmary, has been a member of TYAC for over 10 years. Here, he explains the benefits his membership with the organisation has had on his approach to caring for this age group.

Why TYA?

I began working with teenagers and young people for the simple fact that they are fun to be around. Even when they are battling a life changing condition such as cancer, the energy and determination of this age group never ceases to amaze me. It has driven my career, my research and my thirst to learn as much as I can to understand their unique needs through this most difficult and challenging period in their lives.

Over the years, TYAC membership has provided me with a clearly focused network of professionals who care for teenagers and young adults with cancer; clinicians, psychologists, youth workers, nurses, haematologists to name just a few – the multidisciplinary nature of TYA care is what helps to make it unique.

New Points of View

Contact with other professionals away from your own professional group in your own hospital is essential to build a wider understanding of holistic care. Learning from different points of view allows us to be more flexible with our own approach, something which is of upmost importance for young people who need a sense of independence at a time when many things are outside of their control.

Rather than being in competition with each other, TYAC brings professionals together to work collaboratively. We are constantly learning about new methods and strategies from one another, from various hospitals and treatment centres from across the UK – allowing our teams to work with a unified approach to provide the best possible care.

Future for TYAC

The unique needs of teenagers and young adults with cancer are becoming increasingly recognised in this country but there is still a long way to go and the growth of external organisations will play a vital role in this.

Going forward it will become even more important for professionals to share their research into specific sectors of care, whether it’s the growing importance of digital communication, mental health requirements or fertility preservation options. Events such as the annual TYAC conference have become essential in the dissemination of best practice across our community and are a brilliant platform for the very latest developments in the field, as well as a great social event!

By working together, we can hopefully improve our abilities and strengthen our network even further to develop both research and the services we provide for young people with cancer.