Scotland politics

Funds to help Teenage Cancer Trust work in Scottish schools

Image caption The awareness sessions are designed to help people spot early signs and symptoms

Free cancer awareness sessions in Scotland's schools, colleges and universities have been given a £70,000 funding boost.

The money will help the Teenage Cancer Trust's work on spotting early signs and symptoms of cancer and encouraging people to seek help sooner.

The trust said that while cancer in young people was rare it was vital they knew what to look out for.

The funds are part of the Scottish government's Detect Cancer Early drive.

Teenage Cancer Trust has been offering free cancer awareness sessions to school, colleges and universities for nearly 20 years.

Symptom 'unnoticed'

The lessons cover a range of topics including the signs of cancer, treatments and tips for healthy living to reduce future cancer risks.

The charity said its research suggested a quarter of young people with cancer visited GPs four times or more before their symptoms were taken seriously and they were referred to a specialist.

Amy Quinn, who was diagnosed with a rare form of ovarian cancer last year, heard a Teenage Cancer Trust cancer awareness session at Bishopbriggs Academy.

The 19-year-old said: "I'd been back and forth to the doctors who kept saying it was nothing to worry about.

"I remembered the cancer lesson we'd had about being persistent if things didn't feel right and so I kept going back and I was eventually referred and diagnosed.

"If I hadn't had the lesson I think I would just have left things until they got a lot worse.

"After my operation I was told if I'd been diagnosed any later I might have died."

'Great moment'

Iona MacMillan, Teenage Cancer Trust's Scottish education manager, said: "This is the first time the importance of our education work has been officially recognised by the government, so it's a great moment for us.

"Our cancer awareness sessions are not scary. They demystify the disease and offer straightforward information which could be incredibly useful to young people and their friends and family."

Health Secretary Alex Neil said educating young people to be able to spot the signs and symptoms of cancer, not only in themselves but in others, could really save lives.

He added: "Part of our Detect Cancer Early programme is to work with health professionals to promote earlier referral or investigation of patients who may be showing a suspicion of cancer, whatever their age."

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