Thursday 29th March 2018

Every year in Scotland, around 200 young people are diagnosed with cancer. Research shows that 40% of cancers in adulthood are preventable.

Teenage Cancer Trust wants to improve early diagnosis through raising awareness of the main warning signs of cancer in teenagers and young adults. The ultimate aim of the programme is to help improve earlier diagnoses and to help young people understand the behaviours and lifestyle choices that increase the risk of getting cancer, and, so prevent and reduce these as they go into adulthood.

SNP MSP Rona Mackay said: “For the benefit of our young people, I want to see Teenage Cancer Trust’s education and awareness programme delivered in secondary schools across Scotland.

“I visited the Teenage Cancer Trust unit at the Beatson in Glasgow and saw first-hand the life altering impact the right care and support can have on our young people facing cancer.  2018 is the Year of the Young People, let’s do what we can to empower our young people to know about the signs of cancer.”

Watch her speech from the debate

MSP Rona Mackay, along with other SNPs including Shona Robinson MSP for Dundee City East, Cabinet Secretary for Health & Sport in the Scottish Government, attended a parliamentary reception hosted in partnership with Teenage Cancer Trust in the evening.

(l-r: Murray, MSP Rona Mackay, Wendy)

Teenage Cancer Trust education awareness programme is on track to reach 80% of schools across Scotland. In 2015, the University of Stirling carried out a randomised controlled trial of Teenage Cancer Trust’s education work.  This found that Teenage Cancer Trust’s education presentation in schools produced significant impact on the recognition of cancer warning signs and risk factors. After the 60-minute presentation, three times more young people talked to others about cancer than before.  

MSP Rona Mckay and Teenage Cancer Trust are calling on the Scottish Government to work with them to ensure that 100% of schools in Scotland receive the cancer education awareness programme.

Sasha Daly, Head of Policy at Teenage Cancer Trust said:

Our Cancer Education programme transforms understanding of cancer, leading to better conversations and breaking down fears. Thanks to Rona McKay and other MSP’s, the Scottish Government and other partners, our education and awareness programme has received unprecedented support in Scotland. But we can’t stop until every young person in every school in Scotland has a better understanding of cancer so they are empowered to recognise signs and symptoms to improve earlier diagnosis and know what they can do to best prevent cancer for themselves, their families and friends.

The Scottish Parliamentary Motion is also being supported by the Scottish Government’s Managed Service Network for Children and Young People with Cancer National Youth Advisory Forum which is calling to include Teenage Cancer Trust’s cancer education programme in the school curriculum.

Sign up your school for a free education presentation.