Calls for schoolchildren to be taught cancer symptoms

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The majority of British parents believe their children should be taught about cancer symptoms in school, a new poll suggests.

A survey of more than 1,000 parents of 11 to 16-year-olds found that 69% believed their children would benefit from learning about the symptoms of cancer as part of their school curriculum.

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The poll, conducted on behalf of The Eve Appeal gynaecological cancer charity, also found that 83% of parents feel it is important for their children to learn about illnesses and diseases which may affect them in the future.

In July it was announced that schoolchildren are to be given lessons in mental health and healthy living.

Health education will be a mandatory part of the curriculum for all primary and secondary schools in England from autumn 2020, according to Department for Education (DfE) proposals.

Classes will also cover mental health and physical health, such as the importance of exercise, and healthy eating and the benefits of a healthy lifestyle as well as preventing health problems.

The Eve Appeal’s Put Cancer On The Curriculum campaign is calling for the Government’s new draft guidance on relationships and health education to include education on cancer, along with enhanced anatomical body knowledge.

Athena Lamnisos, chief executive of The Eve Appeal, said: “We want the next generation of children to be armed with knowledge that can help save lives.

“We’re recommending that basic body knowledge is included from age seven and that cancer screening, prevention and signs and symptoms education begins at age 10.

“It’s essential that these issues are taught in both age appropriate and taboo-busting ways. We must increase knowledge and reduce embarrassment.”