Teenage Cancer Trust launches Talk About Dying to support young people facing a terminal cancer diagnosis

In May and June, Teenage Cancer Trust will be opening up a nationwide conversation about death and how receiving a terminal diagnosis affects young people with cancer and those they love.


Launching on Wednesday 10 May, as part of Dying Matters week, Talk About Dying will provide a new suite of digital resources to help young people talk about receiving a terminal cancer diagnosis, provide advice on how to plan for the end of their lives, and demystify some of the language used about dying.

Teenage Cancer Trust will also be sharing stories from young people and their families to show that there is no right or wrong way to face this situation.

The latest NHS statistics show that teenagers and young adults with cancer have an 87% chance of survival. Teenage Cancer Trust’s nurses and Youth Support Coordinators are there to provide sensitive, individual care for every young person with cancer, and that includes supporting young people who are coming to the end of their life.

Dr Louise Soanes, Chief Nurse at Teenage Cancer Trust, said: 

Dr Louise Soanes, Chief Nurse
Dr Louise Soanes

“We know from the nurses and youth workers we support that for many teenagers and young adults whose cancer cannot be cured, talking about death and dying with loved ones and professionals can be difficult and upsetting. Teenage Cancer Trust’s Talk About Dying campaign aims to raise awareness of how these conversations can take place with family, friends and care team, with the young person’s needs and wishes front and centre, to empower them to feel more in control of their lives.
“Everyone’s different, and there’s no one way to do this. What matters is that each young person can have the conversations they want and need, at a time and in a way that works for them.”

Lorraine Beddard, Teenage and Young Adult Clinical Liaison Nurse for North Devon, Torbay and Exeter, said:

Lorraine Beddard, Teenage Cancer Trust Nurse
Lorraine Beddard

“Young people often don’t want to talk at first – it’s up to us to build the relationship and the trust to allow that to happen. There’s no stereotypical young person, they all have different needs. Not being able to talk about death can be very isolating, so Teenage Cancer Trust’s Talk About Dying campaign is an important step towards making it easier for young people to have those conversations.”

Every day, seven young people aged 13-24 hear the words “you have cancer”. They will each need specialised nursing care and support to get them through it. Teenage Cancer Trust is the only UK charity dedicated to meeting this vital need.

Alongside the ongoing work of its nurses and youth support teams, the charity will continue to share information and stories to support young people and families facing terminal cancer throughout May, June and beyond.