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Choosing where you'd like to be treated

We've created a checklist to help you think about what matters most when choosing to be treated in a cancer unit for teenagers and young adults or one for adults alone.

The checklist won't make the decision about the hospital you should be treated in, but it will give you some things to think about. It covers things like facilities, support and travel, as well as the type of unit you'd like to be treated in. It also contains links to more information.

It has been built using the experiences of the young people who contributed to this website. They have been through what you are going through now.

Who can help me make a choice?

When you've finished the checklist, you can print out your preferences to talk through with others.

We'd suggest asking your parents / partner / closest friends to help you to make your decision. Some aspects of your illness will impact on their lives as well, for example, travelling to and from the hospital, visiting, or childcare arrangements. You may also want to talk it through with your treatment team or your GP.

What else do I need to consider?

We've collected as much information as we can in order to help with your decision. So looking at the following will also help:

  • Real stories: videos made by teenagers and young adults with cancer, telling their stories and experiences.
  • Find a cancer hospital: search by postcode, location, hospital or cancer type to find a cancer care unit.
  • About cancer: links to more information about different cancer types, and more about the people who might treat you.

Cancer choices checklist

Understanding the options you have

This checklist is designed to help you think about what matters most when you're choosing where to receive your cancer care. It covers things like facilities, support and travel, as well as the type of ward you'd like to be treated on. Use it to discuss options with your family, friends and treatment team. You might also want to order your list into your personal 'top 10', to help you decide what really matters most to you.

What type of environment and facilities would you prefer?

  • I'd like to have a single room if available
  • I prefer to be in a room with other patients
  • I'd like a social area with activities available
  • I'd like to be in a ward designed with young people in mind
  • I'd like somewhere to make drinks or snacks
  • I'd like somewhere for my family or friends to stay overnight
  • None of these are important to me

How will you keep in touch with your family and friends when you're in hospital?

Pick your preferred ways to stay in contact.

  • I'd like to be able to use my mobile phone
  • I'd like to have easy access to a public phone
  • I'd like family and friends to be able to visit when they want
  • I'd like children to be able to visit me
  • I'd like to bring my own laptop
  • I'd like access to a computer
  • I'd like to have access to the internet
  • None of these are important to me

Information:

Most hospitals have policies on using mobile phones, visiting hours and access to the internet and computers. This will vary depending on hospital. You can use the 'Find a cancer hospital' section on this website to link you through to individual hospitals for more information. Just enter your postcode or the particular hospital you want to look at. You will then be able to link through to the hospital details. Check the 'facilities' page to see what the hospital offers.

How important is the distance between the hospital and your home to you?

  • Very important
  • Important
  • Unimportant

Information:

You can go to the 'Find a cancer hospital' section of this website to link through to a list of hospitals that treat your cancer type. If you enter your postcode and the type of cancer you have in the search boxes on that page, you will see a list showing you how far each hospital is from the postcode you entered. For more information on the hospital, just click on the link.

How important is public transport access between the hospital and your home?

  • Very important
  • Important
  • Unimportant

Information:

To find out about public transport between your home and the hospital, you can use the 'Find a cancer hospital' section on this website. Just enter your postcode or the particular hospital you want to look at. You will then be able to link through to information about that hospital - look at the 'maps, directions and contact details' page. You can use the Transport Direct facility to plan your journey.

How important to you is the cost of travel and hospital parking?

  • Very important
  • Important
  • Unimportant

Information:

Financial support for travel to and from the hospital may be available for you and your family. You may also be able to get discounted or free parking. As this varies from hospital to hospital, it's best to check with the treatment team.

If you're on a ward, which of the following would you prefer?

  • A ward with only other young people on it
  • A ward with mainly older adults
  • I wouldn't mind

Information:

You may be able to choose where you receive your cancer care. Selected hospitals around the country have units where young people are treated together. Some young people prefer this, and others prefer to be treated in an adult cancer unit. It's important to know that whatever you decide, you will receive the same expert cancer treatment and care. And you may be able to change your mind later on.

What sort of support would you like to be available for you and your family?

  • Financial advice
  • Psychological and emotional support for me
  • Psychological and emotional support for my family and friends
  • Support to keep up with my education
  • Support to look after my children
  • Work-related advice
  • Housing-related advice
  • None of the above

Information:

As well as treating cancer, your hospital treatment team is there to support you and to make sure your life will stay as normal as possible during your cancer care. In many hospitals you and your family will have access to emotional and psychological help, as well as practical help with things that may change for you while you are having your cancer treatment.

What other information do you need to help you decide where to go for treatment?

  • Information on the different types of treatment I might have
  • Information on how long it may take to complete all my treatment
  • Information on how much time I will need to spend in hospital as an in-patient
  • Information on how much of my treatment can be given as day visits or out-patient care
  • Information on which hospitals could offer me a clinical trial
  • Information on whether the treatment may affect my fertility and what help is available
  • I already have all of this information

Information:

Not every hospital can offer all treatment options for all types of cancer. There might be advantages for you to having treatment as part of a clinical trial - it's best to speak to your Consultant (senior hospital doctor) about this. Information about trials is available from the Macmillan and Cancer Research UK websites. These are listed in the useful links section at the end of this checklist.

Useful links