Friday 1st December 2017

In this year's snap general election, young voter turnout was higher than it has been in recent years. Whether this was because young people were feeling their needs weren’t being met by the current Government, because politics is becoming more accessible in this social-media age, or even because 'Corbynmania' was winning over the likes of Stormzy, more young people wanted to have their say.

This year, the Policy team are working on 2 particular projects which have real potential to create some positive changes for young people’s cancer services. So what better way to engage young people in the policies around their care than by running 2 sessions at the biggest weekend for young people with cancer in the UK that is our own Find Your Sense of Tumour?  

In October we launched the first All-Party Parliamentary Group on Children, Teenagers and Young Adults with Cancer, in partnership with CLIC Sargent. It's great to have a group of MPs and Peers dedicated to championing the voices of children and young people with cancer in Parliament, and we are committed to ensuring young people themselves are involved in this work too. So, at Find Your Sense of Tumour we asked young people with cancer, if they had 5 minutes with Jeremy Hunt what they would say are the biggest issues facing young people with cancer right now.

Feedback included:

  • Barriers accessing vital financial support; including the Personal Independence Payment and Employment and Support Allowance.
  • A lack of support for those with post-treatment mental health issues.
  • A lack of GP knowledge around cancer in young people.
  • More education needed in schools about the signs and symptoms of cancer in young people.
  • Information and support for children and families when a young person is diagnosed.
  • The importance of peer support during and after treatment.

We've also been working with NHS England’s Clinical Reference Group for Children & Young Adult Cancer Services on their national service review which will deliver the recommendations made in the 2015 cancer strategy for England. We asked young people their thoughts on clinical research and care at local hospitals; 2 key components of the service review.

Feedback included:

  • The majority of young people agreed that involvement in research is important for working towards better treatments and cures, and would like to be told about more opportunities to be involved.
  • Around half of the young people asked found travel to hospitals to be an issue during treatment.
  • Young people want better communication between hospitals.

We want to say a massive THANK YOU to all the young people who came and took part in our #YoungCancerVoices sessions at Find Your Sense of Tumour; your feedback is invaluable. Now it's the Policy team's job to take your thoughts and concerns to the people who can create positive changes out of them and improve services for young people with cancer.