Thursday 19th July 2018

UK

On Thursday 19th July, the UK Government announced plans to make health education a statutory part of the curriculum. At Teenage Cancer Trust, we welcome this announcement and believe that this must include cancer education for every young person between the ages of 11-18 in the UK.

Access to cancer education is vital to help young people recognise cancer warning signs and breaking down the fear of talking about cancer, resulting in earlier diagnosis and treatment.

Half of the population of the UK will get cancer during their lifetime. 4 in 10 cancers could be prevented by lifestyle choices.  

Our schools' Education and Awareness Programme currently reaches 25% of secondary schools across the country. Research by the University of Stirling showed that, after hearing our presentation, students' recognition of warning signs and risk factors grew up to 36% and were three times more likely to talk about cancer. In addition, 67% of students said the presentation made them feel more confident about visiting a doctor or nurse to talk about their health.

Our own evaluation with teachers shows that 98% of them agreed that students understood more about cancer as a result of our presentation. 

Kate Collins, Chief Executive Officer of Teenage Cancer Trust, said, "Teenage Cancer Trust has been lobbying for our education about cancer to be part of every young person's education and the announcement today by the Government shows a step-change in thinking that is hugely needed to ensure education about health is part of every young person's education. Cancer is the biggest killer of young people from disease, so it is imperative that the Government take action, work cross-departmentally and work with leading charities like Teenage Cancer Trust to improve outcomes for young people."

I'm delighted educating and empowering young people about cancer and their health could be part of a mandatory schools' curriculum so that every young person is armed with knowledge that helps them recognise cancer symptoms which may one day result in early diagnosis and ultimately save their lives.