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UK Teenage Cancer Trust demands government action to aid young cancer patients

T was not asking for money it would continue to raise its own funds. What was needed was government endorsement. Health Trusts could take years to see the needs of the 13 to 24-year-olds as any sort of priority. There were hospitals which, after 10 years of discussions, were still deliberating and denying appropriate services to their young patients. Government endorsement would help to make Health Trusts take teenagers seriously, accelerate the development of TCT units and improve patients' quality of life and chances of recovery. "Is the government going to sit on its hands and watch while young cancer patients fall behind in the cancer lottery? There may have been some recent improvement overall in cancer death rates, but not necessarily for the group with whom we are concerned. The government must ask the National Cancer Director to insist Health Trusts say what provision they make for this age group and stipulate that Trusts meet their responsibilities. The government must also use its powers to compel the pharmaceutical industry to develop trials for young cancer patients."

She concluded: "The government has an obligation to support our efforts. It cannot ignore what TCT has achieved, and as a partnership we could do even better."

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Teenagers and young adults some of the ways they miss out summary

  • The arbitrary age breakdown in national and international statistical databases [10-14, 15-19, 20-24] means it is difficult to assess accurately how many teenagers get cancer, so information to establish requirements and on which to base services is lacking..

  • Teenagers tend to suffer from late diagnosis GPs often don't consider cancer as a diagnosis possibly because of its low profile; some of the more frequently occurring cancers in this age group are difficult to diagnose; teenagers themselves are unaware about their own health; parents are less involved in teenagers' p
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  • Contact: Margaret Willson
    m.willson@mwcommunications.org.uk
    44-153-677-2181
    Teenage Cancer Trust
    1-Mar-2004


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