Our vision and strategy

Our vision is a future where young people’s lives don’t stop because they have cancer. We make sure they’re treated as young people first, cancer patients second and everything we do aims to improve their quality of life and chances of survival.

Around seven young people aged between 13 and 24 are diagnosed with cancer every day in the UK. They need expert treatment and support from the moment they hear the word ‘cancer.’ We’re the only charity dedicated to making this happen.

  • We bring young people together so they can be treated together, by teenage cancer experts, in the best place for them.
  • We educate young people about cancer and work with health professionals to develop their knowledge so we can improve the speed and quality of diagnosis.
  • And by funding research and working with our partners in the NHS, government and organisations both nationally and internationally, we strive to improve survival rates.

We lead the world in the care of young people with cancer. Together with these young people, their families and the passion of our supporters, we’re challenging the NHS and transforming lives.

Transforming the lives of young people with cancer

“Too often wards have negative energy because of the pain and worry people suffer on them but you don’t get that on a Teenage Cancer Trust unit. Sure, there is pain and worry and everything else but the optimism and laughter changes that.” Heather, 17, bone cancer

Over 21 years Teenage Cancer Trust has learnt a lot about what it’s like to be a young person with cancer - their unique emotional, physical and practical needs. Because Teenage Cancer Trust understands, they can provide better care, better services and hopefully a more positive outcome for young people.

There’s never a good time to get cancer, but for a teenager the timing seems particularly cruel. Young people can get some of the most rare and aggressive forms of cancer. Their rapidly changing bodies can work against them, enabling the cancer to grow faster. The emotional upheaval of adolescence can make a cancer diagnosis even harder to cope with.

Without the work of Teenage Cancer Trust, young people with cancer would be treated alongside children or elderly patients at the end of their lives. Being away from your normal life, friends and environment at such a vulnerable time is the last thing they need.

Teenage Cancer Trust is the only UK charity dedicated to improving the quality of life and chances of survival for the six young people aged between 13 and 24 diagnosed with cancer every day. We know that what they do need is to be treated together, by teenage cancer experts, in an environment tailored for them.


So we develop specialist units within NHS hospitals that do just this. We want every young person with cancer to have access to this specialist support, no matter where they live.

We're dedicated to making it happen, but we need your support to do it.

Teenage Cancer Trust Film

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Keeping life as normal as possible

“It’s not all about cancer, talking about normal stuff is crucial.” Anthony, 20, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia

Teenage Cancer Trust doesn’t believe teenagers should stop being teenagers, just because we have cancer. So life in a Teenage Cancer Trust unit is intended to be as close to normal as possible.

Teenage Cancer Trust treats young people as individuals first, cancer patients second. We know that providing a place that feels a bit more ‘normal’ helps young people cope with the devastation and chaos of cancer and its gruelling treatments. So our units are developed to provide the best possible environment for patients, their families and those providing their treatment and care.

Our units are designed to feel like a home from home, so young people with cancer are able to keep their lives on track. In doing this, the role of a Teenage Cancer Trust unit goes beyond medical treatment, extending to everything they have to cope with.

We’ve spent over 21 years getting to know young people with cancer and understanding what they need. So you might walk into a unit and find a game of pool going on, or someone chatting to friends on a webcam. It’s all about bringing young people with cancer together. Whether getting to know each other, telling your story or watching the football, being able to talk to someone your own age group, going through exactly what you are going through, makes a huge difference.

It costs between £500,000 and £3.5million depending on the nature, size and location to build and equip a new unit.

We also make sure they include everything young people need to be kept fully occupied and entertained during their stay, whether it’s computers, TVs, jukeboxes or simply a pool table.

Annual report

We do not produce a printed annual report but you can access our annual return to June 2012 on the Charity Commission Website.

Young person first, cancer patient second

“If it wasn’t for Teenage Cancer Trust I wouldn’t have met anyone my own age. Teenage Cancer Trust is a community for young people, bringing everyone together to make the experience of having cancer not so isolating.” Katie, 21, breast cancer

Teenage Cancer Trust wants every young person with cancer to get the best possible care and support from day one.

Cancer doesn’t just affect the patient. Its impact is felt by the whole family and those around them. By understanding how cancer affects their life and providing a range of services that supports those around them, Teenage Cancer Trust is helping support all of the young person's needs.

Keep in touch

Like us on facebook to get the latest news, ask questions, post videos and photos or check out what other supporters are doing.

Follow us @TeenageCancer for updates, news and ideas!

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A home from home environment

A Teenage Cancer Trust unit provides optimum care through an innovative combination of design, equipment and facilities, and specialist staff and culture. Together these essential aspects provide a range of crucial benefits to young people with cancer.

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Education and awareness

We aim to educate every young person in the UK about cancer, cancer prevention and healthy living, empowering them to take control of their own health. We deliver free talks to schools and colleges, and provide free web based and downloadable resources. We also run public awareness campaigns on the signs and symptoms of cancer and a summer skin cancer campaign.

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Find Your Sense Of Tumour

An incredible weekend that brings over 300 young people together each year. Through presentations by young people and experts as well as workshops and social activities, this inspirational event helps young people understand and deal with the physical and psychological effects of cancer.

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Research into teenage and young adult cancer

We fund the country’s only Professor of Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Medicine who leads research into why young people get cancer and how best to treat it, ultimately improving diagnosis, treatment and survival rates. Working with our partners in the NHS, Department of Health and organisations both nationally and internationally, we strive to improve survival rates.

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Our films

Check out our YouTube channel for behind the scenes films from the Royal Albert Hall, young people's stories and more about our work.

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