Tuesday 9th December 2014

The news will be announced today in a speech to the Britain Against Cancer conference. Mr Burnham pledged his commitment after meeting with us and Jane Sutton, mother of inspirational fundraiser and Teenage Cancer Trust supporter, Stephen Sutton MBE, who died earlier this year aged 19 after a late diagnosis of bowel cancer.

Jane Sutton said: 

It is really important that young people are taught the signs of cancer at school. Stephen experienced significant issues being diagnosed and who knows what a difference an earlier diagnosis could have made. Unfortunately, this situation is not unique to Stephen and many young people with cancer have similar problems being diagnosed. We must do all we can to stop this happening to others. Students need to be taught the common signs of cancer and they must be given the confidence to go to the doctors, and to keep on going back if they feel their diagnosis isn’t right.

We've run a pioneering Education & Awareness Programme for nearly 20 years. The sessions are upbeat and designed to demystify the disease and empower young people to take control of their health. We have been lobbying for many years for cancer education to be taught in every school in the UK. We've also recently supported the call for PSHE education to be made statutory and include cancer. We rely on donations to fund our vital work and urgently needs more investment and support to help pay for and extend our Education & Awareness Programme.

Siobhan Dunn, Chief Executive of Teenage Cancer Trust, said:

We know young people with cancer have a poorer diagnosis experience than any other age group. We hear every day how they and their families often feel angry that they’ve not been listened to. We owe it to young people with cancer to be more vigilant and young people can play their part too if we teach them the signs of cancer and build their confidence to seek help and be persistent at the doctors. We know our Cancer Awareness Sessions make a difference and that young people also take the knowledge home and share it with their families. We need a new generation who aren’t afraid to talk about cancer and we believe education is the key to achieving this. We are very grateful to Andy Burnham for his support and we urge the other parties to step up too.

  • In the school year, 2013-2014, Teenage Cancer Trust’s Education Team delivered Cancer Awareness Sessions in 515 schools across the UK, reaching 116,000 students.
  • From March to October 2014 almost 40,000 people visited Teenage Cancer Trust’s online Learning Hub which hosts resources for teachers, including lesson plans endorsed by the PSHE Association.
  • Our Education Team also supports young people with cancer with their educational needs and spoke at 31 schools where there was a young person with cancer to help students and teachers there understand the issues.

In June 2013, the Scottish Government’s Detect Cancer Early programme partnered with our Education Programme to run Cancer Awareness Sessions in schools across Scotland. Since then, Teenage Cancer Trust’s Education Team in Scotland has reached over 2,400 students and 295 parents/carers, making it the biggest health intervention scheme of its kind in Scotland. Stirling University are evaluating the intervention and early findings show that students involved recognise more signs of cancer than those not involved, whilst also showing increased levels of communication about cancer with others.