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NEWS STORY

Cancer awareness sessions in Scottish schools

18/06/2013

Teenage Cancer Trust will extend free cancer awareness sessions in schools, colleges and universities across Scotland, thanks to a 70,000 funding boost.

The funding is part of the Scottish Government's Detect Cancer Early programme, which aims to raise awareness of the early signs and symptoms of cancer and encourage people to seek help earlier.

Teenage Cancer Trust's free cancer awareness sessions cover a range of topics including the signs of cancer, its treatments and tips for healthy living to reduce future cancer risks.

The charity's research shows a quarter of young people with cancer (26 per cent) visited GPs four times or more before their symptoms were taken seriously and they were referred to a specialist.

The cancer awareness sessions are designed to not only help young people spot the signs of cancer in themselves and others, but also empower them to be persistent at the doctors if they are worried. Young people are also encouraged to pass on their knowledge to friends and family.

Amy Quinn, 19, was diagnosed with a rare form of ovarian cancer last year. Amy heard a Teenage Cancer Trust cancer awareness session at her school, Bishopbriggs Academy. Amy said:

"I had been back and forth to the doctors who kept saying it was nothing to worry about. I remembered the cancer lesson we'd had about being persistent if things didn't feel right and so I kept going back and I was eventually referred and diagnosed.

"If I hadn't had the lesson I think I would have just left things until they got a lot worse. After my operation I was told if I'd been diagnosed any later I might have died.

Health Secretary Alex Neil said:

"We know that the earlier cancer is spotted and treated, the better the chances of survival. We have well established national screening programmes in place for people aged over 45 because they are most at risk of cancer. But even though it is rare, cancer can affect anyone, including teenagers.

"That's why educating our young people to be able to sport the signs and symptoms - not only in themselves, but in others too - can really save lives.

"Part of our Detect Cancer Early programme is to work with health professionals to promote earlier referral or investigation of patients who may be showing a suspicion of cancer, whatever their age.

Iona MacMillan, Teenage Cancer Trust's Scottish Education manager, said:

"Our cancer awareness sessions are not scary. They demystify the disease and offer straightforward information which could be incredibly useful to young people and their friends and family.

"Whilst cancer in this age group is rare, it is vital young people understand their own bodies so they can spot if something changes, and feel empowered to look after their own health and seek advice. We also want young people to be able to speak at home about the disease because many parents have lots of misconceptions too.


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