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Cancer didn’t care. We do.

6 Sep, 2017

Cancer didn’t care. We do.

Missing the early signs of youth cancer is having a significant impact on the survival rate of the young New Zealander diagnosed with cancer every second day, with survival rates for adolescent New Zealanders lagging significantly behind other comparable countries.

CanTeen is leading a push to educate young people and their families about the signs of youth cancer to help improve the statistics.  In late 2016 CanTeen’s advocacy group Listen Up were asked, “What would the best cancer service in the world look like?” One of the fundamental points raised was that while early diagnosis was key, knowing the common signs of youth cancer, knowing what action to take, and getting medical professionals to take their symptoms seriously were life-saving.

The Listen Up group consists of young cancer patients who also ran focus groups with patients across the country. So, their ideas were based on the real life experiences of the cancer diagnosis and treatment process.

Following the launch of the Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Standards of Care in May 2017, CanTeen has been working to develop an awareness campaign to promote the “5 Signs of Youth Cancer” as the next phase in our education programme.

During August and September CanTeen is encouraging young people to #THUMPCANCER by running a campaign to raise awareness of the 5 most common signs of youth cancer and encourage young people to seek medical advice if the signs are persistent or unexplained. With sickness in young people often explained away with their active lifestyle or normal adolescence, people need to be aware that in some cases it can be something more sinister.

It’s important to also understand that GPs are only likely to see one or two presentations of youth cancer in their career so if the symptoms are unexplained – it is not known what is causing them, AND persistent – they don’t go away then keep going back to your doctor if you think your issues are not being resolved.

Do you know the 5 signs of youth cancer?

Persistent or unexplained:

TIREDNESS

HUGE CHANGES IN WEIGHT

UNUSUAL LUMPS OR SWELLING

MOLES THAT CHANGE

PAIN THAT DOESN’T GO AWAY

For more information see our website: https://www.canteen.org.nz/thumpcancer/

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