Helping young adult cancer survivors navigate their journey

New first of its kind web-based care planning tool focuses on life goals

Goaltender logoTeens and young adults facing a cancer diagnosis have unique needs, challenges and questions. When treatment is finished, young cancer survivors may continue to have concerns about telling new friends and employers about their illness. They may also be dealing with long-term effects of treatment, such as fertility changes, as they start to build their lives. To help support these young Canadians, Young Adult Cancer Canada developed Goaltender, an online tool to help individuals stay motivated, live a healthy lifestyle and work towards their life goals following a cancer diagnosis.

Created with support from the Partnership, Goaltender is proving to be a hit. It offers an innovative way to help young adult cancer survivors connect with others facing similar experiences. It also helps people manage their own care after cancer treatment with post-cancer care plans that summarize personal information, treatment and follow-up protocols.

“Young Adult Cancer Canada aims to help and empower young adults diagnosed with cancer by providing information and support to individuals throughout their cancer journey. We’re very proud of the initiative’s early success,” said Geoff Eaton, Executive Director and Founder of Young Adult Cancer Canada.

Goaltender is one of four care plan demonstration projects that the Partnership supported to add to knowledge about the needs of cancer survivors as they transition out of cancer care and into primary care. The projects were designed to explore strategies for the creation and implementation of care plans in different environments, including:

  • a community-based project through Wellspring in Toronto that targets patients diagnosed with many different types of cancer who are within six months of completing active treatment
  • a project through a cancer treatment centre in Manitoba, designed for colorectal cancer survivors
  • a project with Alberta Cancer BRIDGES and Alberta Health Services in urban and rural settings

“Within six months of launch, Goaltender already has a growing community of active users from across the country,” said Irene Nicoll, the Partnership’s Director of Cancer Journey. “Using methods that resonate within this unique group, Goaltender helps these young Canadians get the support they need to help them reach their goals and keep their lives on track. It’s encouraging to see that this program is already being put to good use.”

The Partnership’s National Survivorship Working Group leads efforts to develop and disseminate the resources and programs necessary to support Canada’s growing population of cancer survivors. Established to address priorities identified at the National Survivorship Workshop in 2008, the Working Group focuses on resources, tools and programs to empower survivors.