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Charities come together for Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Awareness Month

01/04/24 | News

This April marks the second Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Awareness Month, an opportunity for charities and the young people we support to come together and raise awareness of the unique challenges facing this age group when faced with the three words that change their lives: “you have cancer”.

Around 2,400 young people aged 13-24 are diagnosed with cancer every year. Already juggling the unique challenges that this age brings, imagine then dealing with a cancer diagnosis and the huge impact of treatment.

This year, we’re focusing on empowering young people to take control of their healthcare. We know many young people may find it difficult or embarrassing to seek medical help, before, during or after treatment, especially when you’re worried about sensitive issues. And cancer is different in young people. They have very different needs to younger children and older adults facing this disease, so they need a special, tailored approach to improving cancer diagnosis, treatment, care and support.

So, this Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Awareness Month, we’re raising awareness around the importance of accessing healthcare and advocating for yourself to make your voice heard.

Shaumya Kularajan, TYACAM Steering Group patient representative said: “I’m really excited about this year’s TYACAM following the success of its launch last year. It’s so important to have an awareness month focused on teenagers and young adults because we face a unique set of challenges on top of the weight of a cancer diagnosis. I hope that TYACAM will encourage us to have more conversations to learn from each other and raise awareness in the public.

“It is crucial for young people to feel empowered in healthcare settings, so that they feel able to advocate for themselves and their needs. Shared decision making helps young people to feel more in control, and taking time to learn about and understand a young person’s priorities can enable us to focus on what matters to them.”

Tom would often say he felt like they were a forgotten generation. Healthcare focussed on children and older adults but forgot the needs of teenagers with cancer. That is why here at The Tom Bowdidge Youth Cancer Foundation, we are so pleased to be joining together with more than 20 charities who are using April to come together to raise awareness of the issues faced by these young people. We will be sharing the issues young people are facing and supporting them to share their experiences and ensure their voices are heard.

Ashley Ball-Gamble, Chief Executive at Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group and Chair of the Children and Young People’s Cancer Coalition said: “Following the success of last year’s first Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Awareness Month, we’re delighted to welcome more charities to the partnership, which will help us to raise awareness of the important and unique issues young people face when diagnosed with cancer.

“Coming together and working collaboratively is the only way we can address some of the biggest challenges facing this age group, across the cancer experience from diagnosis, through treatment, and beyond. This April, we’ve collectively chosen to focus on empowering young people to access the care and support they need, whether that is getting diagnosed, accessing support services, or living well after cancer.”

Rachel Kirby-Rider, Chief Executive at Young Lives vs Cancer said: “Getting a cancer diagnosis at any age is tough but at a time when teenagers and young adults should be forging their paths and figuring out who they are, it can feel like it takes away their voice and independence. This is why Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Awareness Month is so important as it creates a space for young people to share their voices and experiences and raise awareness of the unique challenges they face.

“Our social workers are there to support young people to make sure they get the right care and support at the right time and that every young person feels empowered during their treatment.”

 Kate Collins, Chief Executive, Teenage Cancer Trust, said: “This April Teenage Cancer Trust will be shining a light on the challenges young people face after they finish cancer treatment, and the support available to help them adjust to life after cancer.

“Reaching the end of treatment is a major milestone for any young person with cancer. But moving forward from cancer can be equally challenging – the physical, psychological and emotional impacts can be felt long afterwards and may even hit hardest after treatment is over.

“That is why we’ll be launching new information and advice to support teenagers and young adults with the challenges of rebuilding their lives after cancer. And why we’re also asking young people recovering from cancer to share their experiences of life after treatment, to help send out the message to any young people struggling in the aftermath of cancer that they are not alone.”

The charities supporting Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Awareness Month 2024 are Bone Cancer Research Trust, Brain Tumour Research, Cancer Research UK, Children with Cancer UK, Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group, Dragonfly Cancer Trust, Ella Dawson Foundation, Ellen Macarthur Cancer Trust, Grace Kelly Childhood Cancer Trust, It’s In The Bag, Lennox Children’s Cancer Fund, The Little Princess Trust, Lymphoma Action, Neuroblastoma UK, Project Youth Cancer, Sarcoma UK, Solving Kids Cancer, Teenage Cancer Trust, Teenagers and Young Adults with Cancer, Teens Unite Fighting Cancer, Tom Bowdidge Foundation, Trekstock, and Young Lives vs Cancer.

Search #TYACAM to follow Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Awareness Month and find out how the charities are raising awareness and how you can get involved this April.

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