27 Sept 2022

Teenage Cancer Trust calls on schools in Derry and across the North to take advantage of their free education and awareness programme

Teenage Cancer Trust
Teenage Cancer Trust is calling on schools in Derry and across Northern Ireland to make all young people between the ages of 13 – 18 cancer aware, so that they can recognise the main warning signs of the disease to help with early diagnosis. The charity estimates that around 66 young people aged between 16 and 24 are diagnosed with cancer in Northern Ireland every year. As part of its services for teenagers and young people, Teenage Cancer Trust runs an education and awareness programme in Northern Ireland, which is free for all post primary schools to access. However, only 31% of schools are currently accessing this programme. The education and awareness programme includes three elements: an ‘Understanding cancer’ presentation which teaches young people about cancer in an engaging and sensitive way; Mates Matter support which involves working with young people who have cancer to help them educate and empower those around them; and an ‘online learning hub’ with downloadable lesson plans and teacher resources. A trial of the programme by The University of Stirling found that Teenage Cancer Trust’s education presentation in schools significantly impacted upon the recognition of cancer warning signs and risk factors. After the presentation three times more young people talked to others about cancer, than before. Julieanne Donnelly, Teenage Cancer Trust’s Education and Awareness Executive for Northern Ireland, said: “We want young people to know the warning signs of cancer so that it can be detected early. The aim of our understanding cancer presentation is to empower young people to take responsibility for their own health. We want them to know their body, and love their body” Mark Vernon, Teacher at St Malachys High School, Castlewellan, whose school hosted the education programme, said “Our students are now educated in the preventative measures they can take to improve their health.” Feedback from students has also been positive. A pupil from St. Mary’s Grammar, Magherafelt said: “I think it was very informative as I knew very little about cancer before the talk and now I know how it is caused, the symptoms, the treatments and lots of interesting statistics.” To bring the Education and Awareness Programme to your school for free, please contact Julieanne Donnelly, Education and Awareness Executive for Teenage Cancer Trust Northern Ireland, at or 07507 197225. Teenage Cancer Trust help young people and their families deal with the many ways cancer affects your body, mind and life. In Northern Ireland, the charity helps to fund clinical nurse specialists, and enhances centres where teenagers and young adults are treated. To find out more visit

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