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Youth Cancer is rare but serious

Every two days a young New Zealander is diagnosed with cancer.

Survival rates for New Zealand adolescents lag behind international comparisons by 7%

Maori and Pacific young people are significantly less likely to survive cancer in NZ

Less than half of young people 15-19 diagnosed with bone cancer will survive

Young people don’t expect to get cancer. GPs don’t expect young people to get cancer, they may only see one case of youth cancer in their entire career.

BUT cancer is serious.

It is the leading cause of death from disease for young people. The signs are often missed and the symptoms can be mistaken for other common illnesses or blamed on lifestyle. BUT a delayed cancer diagnosis can mean more invasive treatment, greater long term side effects or a reduced chance of survival. And keep going back if you think your issues are not being resolved.

Being aware of the 5 most common signs of youth cancer and going to see your doctor, sooner rather than later, is the key to timely treatment and the best outcome for young people.

All 5 signs are unexplained – it is not known what is causing them and persistent – they don’t go away.

5 Signs that should not be ignored.


Worried? Then visit your GP.

If you notice any of the 5 common signs of youth cancer see your GP as soon as possible, tell a friend or family member, and take someone with you when you go to the appointment. It probably won’t be cancer but wouldn’t you rather know?

Your doctor will want to know as much as possible about what is going on. A good idea is to write everything down before your appointment.

Primary healthcare provider costs

Doctors’ practices and medical centres are privately owned and set their own fees. The cost of a visit will be lower if you’re enrolled with the GP because the government subsidises the fee. Some general practices join a ‘low cost access’ programme run by their primary health organisation which means they get extra government funding to keep their fees as low as possible.

For more information and details on free services, click here.