Our Call for a Children and Young People’s Cancer Plan
We’re on a mission with CCLG to call for a Children and Young People’s Cancer Plan, to make sure their unique and critical needs are recognised, understood, and addressed to improve experiences and outcomes for young cancer patients.
Cancer is still the biggest killer by disease in the UK for children and young people, and over 4,000 children and young people under 25 are diagnosed every year.
Cancer in children and young people is different from older adults – it’s less common, needs different treatment, has distinct impacts (including mental health and financial), and comes at a key developmental stage in life. This means the care and support they need is unique, and plans and strategies that work for adults just won’t work for them.
The UK Government promised to prioritise and improve cancer care, and in 2022 committed to deliver a 10-Year Cancer Plan, but so far haven’t, despite the challenges being faced in cancer care.
This plan sets out key priorities for the Department for Health and Social Care so that the unique needs of children and young people with cancer are recognised and catered for.
When we say children and young people, we mean anyone from birth up to the age of 25.
The Children and Young People’s Cancer Plan includes priorities and recommendations across lots of different aspects of children and young people’s cancer care, including diagnosis, treatment, patient experience, research, psychosocial support, and living beyond cancer. These priorities are set out for the Department of Health and Social care to understand and take action on them.
Each government in each UK nation makes decisions about health, as health is a devolved matter. This Children and Young People’s Cancer Plan is aimed at the UK Government in Westminster and patients receiving treatment and care for cancer in England, but we believe that the priorities and recommendations apply across the entire UK and could be useful in other nations as well.
This plan has been developed by using research and evidence, policy recommendations and clinical insight from Young Lives vs Cancer and the Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group. It also reflects the views and experiences of children and young people with cancer and their families that have been shared with the charities.
Every year in the UK over 4,000 children and young people under 25 are diagnosed with cancer, and they have unique needs that require a bespoke Children and Young People’s Cancer Plan.
Cancer in children and young people is different from older adults because it is less common, requires different treatment, has unique impacts (including mental health and financial), and comes at a unique developmental stage in their life. This means the care and support they need is different from adults.
Cancer strategies are often focused on adult cancers and adult care pathways. This means that they leave out children and young people, aren’t tailored for what they need, and rarely work for childhood and young people’s cancers. It is important that their needs are not overlooked.
The Scottish Government already has a “Cancer Strategy for Children and Young People”, the Northern Ireland Executive has a “Cancer Strategy for Northern Ireland” which includes children and young people, and the Welsh Government are developing a “Cancer Services Action Plan”. It’s important that the UK Government also has a clear plan for children and young people with cancer in England. We know that they have committed to delivering a 10-Year Cancer Plan, but so far have not published this, and it is not expected to specifically address the needs of children and young people.
We want to speak with your representatives in parliament about the unique needs of children and young people with cancer, including our Children and Young People’s Cancer Plan.
Will you email your representatives and ask them to meet with Young Lives vs Cancer?Act now