For most teenagers and young adults the first time they hear the word “cancer” is when someone in their family, often an older relative, is diagnosed. So when met with their own cancer diagnosis they inevitably assume the very worst.
Empowering young people through education
It's important that young people are provided with information about recognising the warning signs of cancer and understand how cancer could affect them or those close to them.
Our education presentations are delivered in a sensitive and engaging way, and explain what it's like to have cancer and answer any questions students might have. We talk about how to spot the early signs of cancer and provide the kind of information that will empower young people to speak to a health professional should they ever have cause for concern. We also give healthy living advice and encourage young people to make positive choices about their diet and exercise to improve their health and reduce the risk of developing cancer later in life.
Free educational resources
Our Education team run a pioneering programme providing free information, education and advice about cancer, prevention and healthy living that reaches around 130,000 students and teachers across the UK each year.
We've recently developed a fully interactive learning resource which places cancer within the context of day to day teen life and provides information about facts and fiction and who to talk to regarding the issue of cancer.
We visit schools, clubs, and associations
We visit schools, colleges, universities, clubs, societies and associations all over the UK. This is a unique offering that no other charity provides. Its totally FREE with no strings attached.
Our free education presentations are informative and engaging and link well with the national curriculum in Scotland, Northern Ireland, England and Wales.
Download our education presentation overview and take a look...
- Session-Overview-2013.pdf (208 kb)
Top 20 cancer myths
Young people (aged 13–24) believe toilet seats, being fat, kissing and a kick in the testicles can all give you cancer, according to research from Teenage Cancer Trust.
Our survey identified that eating coloured jelly babies, living near electricity pylons and keeping a mobile phone in your bra, as actions young people incorrectly believe give you cancer. Below are some more cancer myths:
- 53% believe we are all born with the cancer gene
- 37% believe you're never really cured of cancer
- 36% believe mobile phones cause brain tumours
- 35% believe living near electricity pylons gives you cancer
- 22% believe the colour of your skin determines your cancer risks
- 22% believe having cancer makes your hair fall out
- 20% believe eating red meat gives you cancer
- 19% believe if you have cancer when pregnant your baby will get it
- 15% believe keeping a mobile phone in your bra gives you breast cancer
- 12% believe getting kicked in the testicles gives you testicular cancer
- 12% believe if you don’t inhale when smoking you won’t get cancer
Find out more about our sun safety survey's here
Better education for young people is needed and Teenage Cancer Trust's Education & Advocacy team provide just that, completely FREE of charge.
Find out what's been happening across the UK with Teenage Cancer Trust's Education Team.
Lindsay motivates, inspires and educates PSHE students
Report by Rhiannon Walsh, Year 9 Purbeck School, Dorset
“I thought that cancer was a horrible disease, that only occurred if you were either unlucky or had an unhealthy lifestyle.
Turns out I was wrong, when Lindsay came in to talk to us. Not only did she engage with us so the whole class was totally mesmerized by what she said, but also she opened my eyes to what cancer is really all about.
It can happen to anyone because it is in our cells. When our cells make a copy of themselves and die, they always kill of the cancerous cells quickly, but if it is missed more are multiplied and are in the same chain as normal cells. That is how you get Cancer, but this is where statistics come in. You have a far more chance of not getting Cancer if you have a good healthy lifestyle, which is one of the many causes of Cancer for example: if you smoke you increase your chance of getting lung cancer.
That is only a small fraction of what Lindsay had to say as well as how she overcame Cancer. I was blown away by not only what she had to say but the fact that the class, was completely silent and asked amazing questions! It also had something to do with the fact, she was able to connect and explain everything there is to know about Cancer in the 50 minutes she had us (and she didn't even know us!).
That is a small amount of what Lindsay did to me while I was in that class, I learnt a lot that I didn't know so on behalf of my class I would like to thank her for a fantastic skills and teaching.”
The Teenage Cancer Trust vision is a future where young people’s lives don’t stop because they have cancer. They make sure they’re treated as young people first, cancer patients second and everything they do aims to improve their quality of life and chances of survival.
Christmas at Blue Coat School
A group of Year 11 students at Blue Coat school were inspired by the information they received from Adam Johnson during an Education presentation at their school in November to raise money for Teenage Cancer Trust. They held a cake sale each day for a whole week and sold personalised candy canes that were hand delivered to lucky recipients by Santa himself during class! Their fantastic activities managed to raise over £200 for Teenage Cancer Trust and certainly helped the pupils to get in to the christmas spirit. Mrs Stanley, a teacher at Blue Coat School said: "my form were inspired by what you said, and the work Teenage Cancer Trust have done to make young cancer patients comfortable in hospital. The talk was engaging, and your serious message was put accross in a friendly way! The team of students (about 15 of them) have managed to raise just over £200! A record for us in such a short time, and a pleasing result for all involved."
University of Manchester Start of Year Fair
Teenage Cancer Trust Education & Advocacy team from the North, Teenage Cancer Trust funded staff from the North West, The Christie and the University of Manchester, as well as patients of the Teenage Cancer Trust Unit at The Christie, attended the University of Manchester ‘Start of Year’ Fair during the week of 19 September.
Over 9,000 students attended the fair and it seemed as if the majority of these came to visit our stand!
Information about symptoms of Teenage and Young Adult cancers was given out to students and we distributed questionnaires to assess knowledge of common symptoms of cancer in the Teenage and Young Adult population.
A first year student at the University, 19 year old Emilie Milton Stevens, was the lucky winner of a £70 meal voucher for Gusto Restaurant in Didsbury who generously supported the event. Emilie recognised that weight loss can be a sign of cancer, that boys can get breast cancer, that using sunbeds increases your risk of skin cancer in later life and that, in the UK, 7 young people a day find out that they have cancer.
Here's what pupils and teachers have to say about our awareness raising presentations...
"The students found the presentation really interesting. It has much greater impact when delivered by someone from the Trust who not only has excellent knowledge, but who can bring the topic to life with real examples of the work of the Trust. As a teacher I would not be able to do this in a way that would be anywhere near as effective. Kelly Scott has a very user friendly way with the students, she has them engaged from the minute she walks in, they can relate to her and she leaves them wanting to know more and tell others about what they have experienced. This is what learning is all about and in terms of raising awareness of the work of the Trust and of the need to take care of health – what better way is there?”
Feedback from a teacher
"I have found the session to be interesting and informative. It was fantastic that the students felt able to ask questions in an unthreatening environment"
Mrs J Sanderson, Ashington High School
"The talk was excellent, informative, thought provoking and extremely valuable. Students were engaged throughout, the personal angle and elements of humour managed to make this difficult topic accessible for all."
Mr A Hedley, Queen Elizabeth High School, Hexham
“I thought the talk was very touching. It was pitched just at the right level, giving information without being overly dramatic. My students responded to the way the talk was given. Even the ones who can sometimes be disruptive listened and said they’d learned something helpful.”
Comment from a student from Bridwater College, Somerset
“Students need to hear not only the horror stories but how to keep themselves safe and protect themselves. I thought the talk focussed on the positive aspects of young people taking responsibility for their own health in a really helpful manner”
Comment a from teacher at Bridwater College, Somerset
Hello Mr Johnson,
I know I contacted you earlier this year to say 'thank you' for the excellent talk you gave to our year 10 students, but I just wanted to let you know of a situation that has just come to light.
A boy who has, un-beknown to anyone, been worried about a testicular lump for the last two years has decided to tell his mum and that was because he listened to your talk and decided to act upon your advice and finally drum up the courage to have it checked out. The worry over the last two years has been adversely affecting his school work, (unsurprisingly!) and now that weight of worry has been removed and he feels so much better for it. I believe his diagnosis was not bad news. Many thanks, again, for your support and I do hope you will do another talk next year!
Teacher, Dormston School
We learned a lot about cancer which we think is very important to know for example the symptoms and the treatments. We also think it was very interesting to learn about other peoples stories which made us realise cancer is a serious issue.
S4 pupils, Loudoun Academy
Excellent – dealt with stereotypes, gave pupils the option to take a breather if it was too much/personal, made sure pupils didn’t panic about getting cancer but made aware of possible symptoms. Very clear and focused, and pitched at the right level.
Teacher, Galashiels Academy
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We can visit your school, college, university, club, or society. Contact us for more information or to arrange a free visit.
+44 (0)207 612 0370
One in four teenage cancer patients had to visit their GP at least four times before their symptoms were taken seriously and they were referred to a specialist. Find out how Teenage Cancer Trust are working with young people, the government and GP’s to ensure young people receive the best possible care and support from the time they first speak to their GP.More