Politics can be confusing, boring and maddening – but it matters.
The next Government could make a big difference to young people’s experience of cancer treatment, chances of survival and ongoing recovery.
No matter who wins the general election on Thursday 12 December, please help us get them on the same page about cancer inequality for young people.
Cancer experience inequality
Problem: It can often be harder for young people with cancer to get a referral to specialists than for most other age groups. That means their cancer can take longer to be diagnosed, which can make it harder to treat.
Problem: When they’re diagnosed with cancer, young people are supposed to be offered support tailored for people their age, but that doesn’t always happen. That can make their cancer treatment really tough to get through.
Solution: The NHS Long-Term Plan already recognises these issues and sets out ways to improve them. All we’re asking the next Government to do is commit to doing what the plan says. Not too much to ask, right?
Cancer survival inequality
Problem: Teenagers and young adults are much less likely than other age groups to get access to the best treatments, through clinical trials. That means their chances of surviving cancer are often lower than they could be. That’s just not fair.
Problem: Prevention programmes often aren’t relevant for young people and, even when they are, can be inconsistent. Why do older boys have to pay for an HPV vaccine that girls of the same age and younger boys get for free? Just. Not. Fair.
Solution: We want the next Government to save some lives. Let’s make sure young people get fair access to the best treatments, including through clinical trials. And let’s get the HPV vaccine available for free on the NHS for anyone up to the age of 25.
Cancer recovery inequality
Problem: Young people tell us all the time that they need better support to get their lives back on track after cancer. Young people have told us that fewer than half of them get the chance to speak to a counsellor after treatment, for instance.
Solution: We want the next Government to improve psychological support for young people with cancer, both during and after treatment.
Register to vote
It’s important young people with cancer have their voices heard. But it can be hard to make it to a polling station when you’re not well. Check out our guide to make sure you get your vote.