Read a press article about Roger Daltrey’s crusade to help teenagers struck by cancer. CLICK HERE
To put this initiative into context: the sixth International Conference on Teenage and Young Adult Medicine kicked off with the launch of a global campaign to protect the rights of young people with cancer and establish them as a distinct medical group. Teenage Cancer Trust’s longstanding celebrity patron, The Who’s Roger Daltrey CBE, encouraged people across the globe to support the International Charter of Rights for Young People with Cancer by signing online.
In the UK, six people aged 13-24, are diagnosed with cancer every day, in the US that figure is nearly 200 per day. Teenage Cancer Trust studies have shown in the UK that young people revisit GPs an average of 5 times before symptoms are recognised or taken seriously. Globally, teenagers also miss out on vital clinical trials by research systems arranged around age, leaving them forgotten in the middle of children and adult age groups and lagging behind in survival rates. The international community also agrees these patients face a lack of resources such as psychosocial therapy and fertility preservation.
Set up by five cancer charities across the world, Teenage Cancer Trust in the UK, CanTeen Australia, CanTeen New Zealand, and LIVESTRONG and SeventyK in the USA, the Charter is a global initiative recognising teenagers and young adults have specific needs that differentiate them from children and adult medicine. The charities believe these differences deserve to be acknowledged by the medical world, and identify ten key rights they want to see awarded to young people diagnosed with cancer worldwide.
Roger Daltrey CBE, Teenage Cancer Trust Patron said, “I’ve been working with Teenage Cancer Trust for 10 years and we don’t just talk about change, we make it happen. Quality cancer care for this age group should be a right and not a privilege. For a teenager, dealing with cancer is frightening enough but being taken away from your life and friends makes it more frightening. This situation has to change. We believe teenagers with cancer shouldn’t have to stop being teenagers. Thanks to Teenage Cancer Trust, Britain leads the world in the treatment of teenagers with cancer. Now we need the world to catch up.”
Hannah Merridale, 25, was diagnosed with a Carcinoid Tumour in her right lung at 18 after spending over five years going back and forth to her GP. She said, “I started feeling really breathless when I was 13, but my GP said it was asthma. It got worse to the point where I had a constant stabbing pain in my chest yet they still told me it was just asthma. Five years later I got really ill and spent four months visiting my doctor every week until he eventually gave in to my pestering and sent me for a chest x-ray. The x-ray showed that my right lung had collapsed, and by the time I saw a consultant the collapsed part had died. All this time I had a large tumour growing on my lung, and as a result I’ve had two thirds of it removed.”
Professor Mike Richards, UK National Cancer Director, said, “I absolutely agree that teenagers and young adults should be recognised as a distinct medical group with specific needs. Teenagers and young adults fall between paediatric and adult medicine and because of this are under represented in medicine and research. Early diagnosis and detection is vital for improving survival rates for all age groups, so I whole heartedly support this Charter of Rights for young people with cancer in raising awareness of the issues of cancer and cancer care for young people across the world.”
Teenage Cancer Trust leads the world in the treatment of teenagers with cancer, building state-of-the-art units for this age group in UK NHS hospitals. In the US, SeventyK and LIVESTRONG are committed to advocacy, outreach and education of the issues that affect many young people, as defined by the National Cancer Institute. Down under, CanTeen in Australia and CanTeen in New Zealand have become the largest supporter and service provider for young people with cancer.
The International Charter of Rights for Young People with Cancer
We are neither paediatrics nor geriatrics; we have unique needs – medically, developmentally, socially, and economically. We have the right to have these unique needs recognised. Like all age groups, we deserve to have our dignity, our beliefs, our privacy and our personal values respected. Regardless of financial, familial, ethnic or other background, access to quality cancer care and age-appropriate support is a right, not a privilege. Young people with cancer have the right to…
1. Receive education about cancer and its prevention including early detection.
2. Be taken seriously when seeking medical attention and receive the earliest possible diagnosis and speedy referral for suspected cancer.
3. Have access to suitably qualified multi-disciplinary medical specialists with significant experience in treating cancer in this age group.
4. Information about and reasonable access to clinical trials and treatment that has been clinically trialled with people in their age group.
5. Receive age-appropriate support including, but not limited to, psychosocial, community and palliative support services.
6. Empowerment in making decisions supported by full and detailed explanation of all treatment options and long-term effects of the disease enabling them to actively influence their care.
7. Fertility preservation, as well as information and counseling concerning short-term and long-term effects of cancer and treatment which affect fertility.
8. Have access to specialised treatment and services in age-appropriate facilities alongside their peers.
9. Financial and practical support to minimise the burden of the disease during treatment.
10. Elimination of all forms of discrimination, during and beyond treatment, in education, vocation and insurance, or in the community.

Teenage Cancer Trust’s groundbreaking Conference on Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Medicine will run from 7-9 June 2010, at the Royal Society of Medicine, London. This is the sixth international conference organised by Teenage Cancer Trust and is the only one of its kind in the world. The conference attracts delegates and speakers from around the globe, enabling health professionals to learn about recent developments in cancer for this age group and to share information and best practice. It has become known as the must-attend conference for those working in the field of adolescent cancer.
For more information please contact Teenage Cancer Trust: