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1 In 2 Australians Say: “Friends And Family Not Equipped To Support Young People Impacted By Cancer”

October 26, 2018 Statistics & Trends No Comments Email Email

Ahead of National Bandanna Day on Friday October 26th, market research* commissioned by CanTeen, the only organisation in Australia dedicated to providing tailored support for young people aged 12-25 affected by cancer, has revealed that almost 50% of Australians believe that family and friends wouldn’t know how to support a young person coping with cancer, but think that they would be able to refer them to a professional or support group.

The data has also provided insight into what Australians consider to be the best way for young people to receive emotional and practical support when affected by cancer. The leading responses were professional support e.g. counsellors, social workers (33%), friends and family (28%), and spending time with other young people affected by cancer (25%). Interestingly, spending time with other young people affected by cancer was the leading answer for 18-24 year old’s (33%).

The data also delved into what Australians thought to be the key barriers to accessing support by young people affected by cancer; 45% of all respondents indicated that young people would feel overwhelmed by emotions such as embarrassment (the top verdict for NSW, VIC and QLD residents), followed by not knowing where or how to get support (27%) and experiencing a practical issue e.g., lack of transport or time, worried about money (21%).

Cassandra Taylor, Senior Counsellor at CanTeen says, “It is essential that young people affected by cancer are aware of the kind of support available to them and how to access it. Many Australians feel they’re not equipped to provide support to young people experiencing cancer, and research has shown 59% of Australians are not aware of the free and specialist support services available to these young people.”

One such person who experienced the value of a professional support network first hand is CanTeen Youth Ambassador, Maddy Ritchie. Maddy was diagnosed at age 17 in October 2015 during her HSC with a rare Stage IV Rhabdomyosarcoma cancer of the pelvis and left leg. She was given three months to live at the time. After her diagnosis, she was referred to CanTeen by her social worker and was offered face-to-face and online counselling, support camps and recreation days. It’s three years on and of her journey, Maddy says:

“When I was going through chemotherapy and radiation, I felt immense isolation and grief because everything I knew was put on hold within the space of 48 hours. When I joined CanTeen, they offered me opportunities that were life changing. I was able to connect with other young people and felt part of a family, and I now have friends for a lifetime. CanTeen honestly changed my life.”

Cassandra continues, “When cancer comes into a young person’s life, they often feel incredibly isolated. That’s why it is so important that young people can access support tailored to them when they need it most, whether that is through professional counselling, treatment teams or social support.”

Maddy urges, “I really hope Australians can get behind National Bandanna Day this year. It’s a day where people can come together to support CanTeen’s work that is so vital for young people like me who are affected by cancer.“

National Bandanna Day is the major fundraising and awareness campaign for CanTeen. All funds raised go towards helping young people deal with their emotions about cancer, connect with peers in similar situations, and attend online and face-to-face counselling. If they’ve been diagnosed themselves, the not-for-profit organisation provides the Youth Cancer Services (YCS) which are specialised treatment and support services for young people with cancer based in major hospitals throughout Australia.

Australians can show their support by donating or purchasing a bandanna, with prices starting at $5.

For more information, visit:

CanTeen is the only organisation in Australia that is dedicated to providing tailored support for young people aged 12-25 who are affected by cancer. They help young people cope with the immense challenges of either their own cancer, a close family member’s diagnosis or the death of a loved one, as well as conducting world-class psychosocial research with the ultimate goal of transforming the lives of young people affected by cancer.

For media enquiries and to request an interview with CanTeen CEO Peter Orchard, Senior Counsellor Cassandra Taylor or CanTeen Youth Ambassador Maddy Ritchie, please contact Amelia Watson at Agent99 Public Relations on 02 9779 0999 or

*Market research was conducted and analysed by The Digital Edge Research Company. The data is based on analysis of 1,000 Australians in September 2018. The respondents used for this study were 18 – 65+ years old, and consisted of a mix of all genders, locations and employment types.

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