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Teen Cancer Unit planned for St. Francis downtown

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Wednesday, June 21, 2017

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Bon Secours St. Francis Health System, along with national nonprofit Teen Cancer America, announced plans Wednesday to open a new inpatient Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) cancer unit.
 

Jim Fair

Bon Secours St. Francis Health System, along with national nonprofit Teen Cancer America, announced plans Wednesday to open a new inpatient Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) cancer unit.

 



Enlarge photo

Jim Fair

"You’ve got to know somebody that’s in their shoes, especially for young adults and older teens that is critical."

Dr. Hal Crosswell

 

 

Teens and young adults facing their own cancer battles will soon have a place to congregate among their peers in Greenville.

Bon Secours St. Francis Health System, along with national nonprofit Teen Cancer America, announced plans Wednesday to open a new inpatient Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) cancer unit at its facility in downtown Greenville. It will be the first dedicated cancer center for this age group (15-39) in the Carolinas and the nation’s eighth when completed.

Teen Cancer America and First Citizens Bank pledged to grant $320,000 for the development of the AYA cancer unit and programs at Bon Secours.

“Since 2012, we have cared for AYAs in the Upstate, and this partnership will take the program to the next level as we launch a vibrant, developmentally appropriate inpatient unit and support services dedicated to teens and young adults,” said Dr. Hal Crosswell, director, Adolescent Young Adult Cancer Care and Blood Disorders Program at Bon Secours St. Francis.

“Data suggests that dedicated support services and space is needed to improve outcomes and quality of life for AYAs. When you see it first hand, you become a believer very quickly.”

The testimonials of former cancer patients Iscella Macias, 28, and Peyton Cooper, 17, as told by her mother, Tina, more than made up for the obligatory presentations.

Macias, from Spartanburg, spent four months in Atlanta undergoing treatment surrounded with older patients. “It was not a very pleasant time,” Macias said. “I visited an AYA and would have loved to be around younger people. At AYA you meet people and you connect with others that have cancer. Everybody knows what each other’s condition is and their treatments.”

“You can’t replace camaraderie. There is only so much we can do and family members,” said Crosswell. “You’ve got to know somebody that’s in their shoes, especially for young adults and older teens that is critical.

“As we know they listen more to their peer groups than say, their family members, so to be able to have that connectivity and that support is really good for them and it is happening more and more and it just needs to be coordinated,” said Croswell.

An AYA in Fort Worth is an example of the cancer unit:

• Single inpatient rooms, and Murphy bed sleeping accommodations for family members and/or friends

• Large patient bathrooms with extra storage

• Family room

• Game room

• Common area with big-screen TV, community craft table, coffee bar

 • Living room designed for family and friends of patients

• Cocoon room for dedicated space for patients to retreat, or family counseling, yoga, meditation, reading or other therapeutic activities

In many hospitals, teens and young adults often receive care in pediatric wards or with older adults in general cancer facilities. This new unit will help bridge the gap.

“It’s a unique age range that is defined by being in transition, so you are either going from high school to college, or college to work, or college to first job, or they are developing their first relationship,” Crosswell said. “And that’s unique. So they have unique needs that is not well served in currents models of health care.”

“We’re extremely excited to join with Teen Cancer America and First Citizens Bank to launch this new Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) oncology unit and continue providing state-of-the art, comprehensive cancer treatment and care,” said Craig McCoy, CEO of Bon Secours St. Francis Health System. “We all share a passion for creating the right environment to help bring about bright futures for teens and their families.”

“Teen patients have unique social, economic and emotional needs, which can often complicate cancer care,” said Jeff Ward, who is on the board of directors for Teen Cancer America and is chief strategy officer for First Citizens. “This new inpatient unit will provide these young people with targeted treatment and care – in a place where they feel like they belong — and help them get through the most challenging experience of their lives."

“I commend Bon Secours St. Francis Health System for its forward-thinking leadership in approaching us about developing this center,” Simon Davies, executive director of Teen Cancer America, said. “In the U.S., there are more than 30 young people diagnosed with cancer every day, more than one every hour.”

• Founded by Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend of The Who, Teen Cancer America partners with hospitals to build teen-friendly environments that foster community and social interaction among patients. With soft furnishings, hangout areas, game rooms, laptops, musical instruments and more – it’s all about letting teens feel like teens. Visit LetMyLoveOpenTheDoor.com for more information.

 

 

 

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