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Teens, Cancer and Community

More than 73% of teens have been touched by cancer yet teens are often an overlooked audience, especially regarding cancer risk factors, prevention and dealing with the social and emotional needs brought about by a cancer diagnosis. In Washington State, 25% of families with a cancer diagnosis are home to children under the age of 18. In the family, uncertainty and change -- brought about by a cancer diagnosis -- can result in feelings of anxiety, fear of death, loneliness, poor self-concept, anger, resentment and guilt.

We have found that teens are very receptive to cancer-related programs in their own school setting. Since 2005 Gilda’s Club Seattle has reached more than 41,800 teens, face-to-face, in King, Pierce, Snohomish, and Thurston high schools with its "Cancer Education for Teens" (CET) program – unique in Washington State. Beginning in the Fall, 2015 the CET program will be available in an e-learning format that high schools, no matter where they are located, can access.

CET is an interactive course that has been developed in collaboration with experts in the field of oncology, cancer support, and public health to raise teen awareness about cancer risk factors. The course provides teens with an education on:

  • What is cancer and who gets it
  • Understanding the risk factors for cancer
  • Ways to reduce cancer risk
  • Supporting those with cancer

There is no high school curriculum offering a program like this and it has been identified as an unmet need. CET can be incorporated into the classroom as a face-to-face experience in  Seattle area high schools, and as e-learning for classroom presentation or homework assignment that would be augmented by interactive classroom discussion.We work with health education teachers to assist them in incorporating CET into their classes each semester. If you are interested in presenting Cancer Education for Teens in your high school, face-to-face in the Seattle and South Sound areas OR via the e-learning modules in other counties of Washington State, please contact Sally Benson by email or call the Clubhouse at 206-709-1400 or (toll free) 1-866-200-2383.

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