Youth Cancer Resources

Minister’s statement

Ms MIKAKOS (Northern Metropolitan—Minister for Health, Minister for Ambulance Services) (12:23): I rise to update the house on how our health services are working to support our young people with cancer. Recently I visited ONTrac at Peter Mac, Victoria’s fantastic cancer service for adolescents and young adults, to launch resources specifically developed to assist young people throughout their battle with cancer.

I met with Lucy, a young LGBTIQ+ person, who spoke about how useful a resource like Being OK … Being You: A Guide for Young People Who Identify as LGBTIQ+ and Have Cancer would have been for her during her own cancer journey and to help her feel both seen and heard. This important resource is designed to ensure that all of our young people get the important information that they need and the support that they need. Another publication, Getting to Grips with General Practice, is a resource that aims to help young people to understand the importance of having a GP involved throughout their cancer journey. It helps to guide the best way for young people to use GPs to enhance their overall health and wellbeing during their cancer treatment and beyond. Finally, Thinking Ahead: Your Guide to School, Study and Work is another important resource, because we have seen research that shows that cancer leads to young people being disconnected from and disrupted in their education and work. This resource focuses on improving one’s life chances after cancer and how young people can re-engage with both education or employment. I am informed that in fact this resource has been so valuable that cancer services in other states have been contacting ONTrac to get their hands on copies.

It was an absolute pleasure to meet the young members of the Victorian & Tasmanian Youth Cancer Action Board, who were the leading voice in the development of all of these resources, and I thank them for their valuable insights. I am proud that our government has supported development of these resources, together with the Youth Affairs Council Victoria, the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and Redkite, as well as of course the fabulous ONTrac. These resources will help young people living with cancer continue with their lives, putting their health and wellbeing front and centre during their treatment and throughout their recovery. Resources like these help young people throughout this process and can keep hope alive as they look to the future. We are making sure that they have the support that they need when they need it.