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Improving the lives of young adults with cancer

We're highlighting the valuable contribution nurses are making to the lives of young adults living with cancer for Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Awareness Month.

The Teenage and Young Adults (TYA) ward at Addenbrooke's Hospital will be one of the many services moving into our new Cambridge Cancer Research Hospital.

Gloria Anyaegbu, TYA Clinical Trials Research Nurse

A research nurse and a quote of text
Gloria Anyaegbu, Teenage and Young Adult Clinical Trials Research Nurse, CUH

Gloria is a research nurse at Cambridge University Hospitals (CUH) and a CRUK Cambridge Centre Programme member, dedicating her time to improving the lives of young adults with cancer. Her work in clinical research has helped advance treatments and she provides ongoing support and care for those undergoing cancer treatment.

What is your current job title and how did you begin your research career?

I am the Teenage and Young Adult Clinical Trials Research Nurse at Addenbrooke's Hospital. My research career began in 2014 when I joined the Experimental Medicine and Immunotherapy Vascular Research Unit at CUH.

Can you describe your role as a TYA Clinical Trials Research Nurse?

I work closely with patients to provide information about their treatment and signpost them to appropriate services to support them during research participation.

I take pride in being a source of information and support for my patients. I deeply understand clinical research and the unique challenges young cancer patients face. Through my contributions to my work, I have championed the importance of including young adult patients in research recruitment.

Why is it important to highlight the impact of cancer on the TYA population?

The impact of cancer on young teenagers and the adult population cannot be overstated. This population faces many challenges regarding cancer diagnosis and treatment, such as disrupting their education, social lives, and plans. Additionally, a cancer diagnosis at a young age can have long-term effects on fertility, career opportunities and mental health.

It is crucial to raise awareness and promote understanding of the impact of cancer on young adults so we can provide better support and tailored resources and services to meet their needs.

By investing in research, we can work towards improving outcomes and making a meaningful impact in the lives of young cancer patients.

What challenges do you face in recruiting young patients for cancer research studies?

It can be challenging due to the psychological impact of the diagnosis on the patient and the family and communication issues.

We can improve communication with patients and their families to provide clear and concise information about available trials and their potential benefits. Education and awareness campaigns will also help address research misconceptions, strengthen local knowledge about clinical trials, and encourage participation.

What do you hope to achieve during TYA Cancer Awareness Month?

For this year's TYA Cancer Awareness Month, I hope to increase awareness of the importance of including patients in cancer research studies by encouraging every clinician to be aware of their patients’ age and ensure they are referred to the TYA team for holistic care during and after treatment.