Young people living with cancer in Brighton and Hove have to travel all the way to Surrey for treatment.
But a new campaign is calling for a locally-based service for the estimated 35 young people in the city diagnosed with cancer every year.
The Teenage Cancer Trust said young people with cancer from Brighton are treated at The Royal Marsden in Surrey, where there is a Teenage Cancer Trust Unit for 16 to 25-year-olds.
Twenty-one year old Chloe Woolfe from Brighton was diagnosed with stage 2 osteosarcoma when she was 17 and treated on a Teenage Cancer Trust unit.
She said: “The unit was totally different to any other hospital ward. The nurses became my friends, the ward became home and everyone on the ward truly felt like one big family.
“The only downside is that it is so far away. My friends couldn’t visit me because it was too hard for them to travel to me and I missed them. There are no specialist nurses in Brighton, so I still have to travel over two hours for my check-ups and physio appointments.
“Teenage Cancer Trust is so needed in Brighton to ensure that young people with cancer can get treated on their doorstep. It would mean that it’s easier for their friends and family to visit them and that could really help them feel supported during the difficult time.”
Over the last three years, Teenage Cancer Trust has been working in partnership with The Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust to improve local facilities and services for teenagers and young adults with cancer in and around Brighton.
The charity said it has recently completed a project to refurbish a space on Level 9 at The Royal Alexandra Children’s hospital where local young teenage cancer patients spend time when having treatment to ensure young people feel more comfortable.
But it said more must be done to ensure that every young person can receive the specialist, age appropriate care they need locally.
Brendan McIntyre, regional services manager, said: “Teenagers and young people with cancer need to be able to access specialist emotional support and care at the point of diagnosis, during and after treatment. And we want to ensure that all young people in and around Brighton have the choice of having this support and care available closer to home.”
During their treatment for cancer, young people often need to have long stays in hospital. Long travelling distances to and from a hospital that provides specialist care may prevent family and friends from visiting which can have emotional and physical impacts on them at an already difficult time, the charity said.
Teenage Cancer Trust said it costs around £1,236 a day to set up and maintain a specialist nursing and support service for local young people, as well as to continue to deliver existing services.
Louise Scott, Teenage Cancer Trust fundraising manager for the South East, said: “This is an opportunity for people from Brighton to find out more about us and the unique service we plan to provide. We are asking local people to support us in any way they can. Take part in a sponsored challenge, choose us as your next charity of the year partner, host a fundraising event or make an ongoing contribution towards our work, all of which will help ensure that local young people will be able to access this much needed service for many years to come.”
To find out more about raising money for Teenage Cancer Trust, visit: www.teenagecancertrust.org/support-us