Current Recruiting

When Cancer Comes Along: CanTeen’s high school cancer education program

What is the project about and why is it important?

Many young people have cancer crash into their worlds and its impact can be felt in most school communities. 23,000 young Australians face a cancer diagnosis themselves or within their family each year and 1/3 of all cancers are preventable. Thus, educating young people on the risk factors, signs and impacts of cancer, and giving them the tools to ask for help and support a friend or family member is a crucial service.

CanTeen developed a 90 minute, free, interactive high school based program to educate students on: What cancer is, cancer risk factors and warning signs and, how to support a friend or family member who is impacted by cancer.

The program is delivered by CanTeen’s knowledgeable programs staff and aligns with the national curriculum for health and physical education.

There is an evaluation component to the program aiming to assess: Effectiveness of the program in increasing young peoples’ awareness of cancer, is the program helpful and appropriate according to the students? Can it influence students to make healthy behaviour changes? And, is any knowledge gained after the program sustained over two months?

Students will be asked to complete three questionnaires, either all before the program (Wait List Control group), or 1 week before the program, immediately after the program and 2 months after the program (Intervention group). Questionnaires ask students about their understanding of cancer, their current health behaviours and their satisfaction with the program. Questionnaires are anonymous and should take no longer than 20 minutes each.

Students and their guardians are sent an information sheet prior to the presentation and have the option to opt-out of the research at any point. Students can attend the presentation and not complete the evaluation if they wish.

The evaluation has been approved by the NSW, Victorian, ACT, Tasmanian, SA and WA Departments of Education.

Any high school in Australia is welcome to host When Cancer Comes Along. Eligibility for the program evaluation is conditional on Department of Education and/or School approval.

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Konings, S., McDonald, F.E.J., Patterson, P. & Hubbard, G. (2019, January). When Cancer Comes Along: A cancer awareness program for Australian secondary school students. Presented at The Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation Conference. Canberra, Australia.

McDonald, F.E.J., Patterson, P., Wright, A. & Hubbard, G. (2018, December). An initial evaluation of “When Cancer Comes Along” cancer awareness program for highschool students. Paper presented at the 3rd Global Adolescent & Young Adult Cancer Congress. Sydney, Australia.

McDonald, F.E.J., Patterson, P., Hubbard, G., Konings, S. & Wright, A. (2018, December). A cancer awareness program for Australian secondary school students: What do adolescents already know about cancer? Paper presented at the 3rd Global Adolescent & Young Adult Cancer Congress. Sydney, Australia.

Wright, A.J., Patterson, P., McDonald, F.J.E. & Hubbard, G. (2018, September). Evaluation of a broad-based cancer awareness program for Australian secondary school students. In F.E.J McDonald (chair) Successes and challenges of providing evidence-based support in a community setting to young people. Symposium to be conducted at the Australian Psychological Society Congress, Sydney, Australia.  

Patterson, P., McDonald, F. E. J. & Wright, A. (2017, June). The development and piloting of a comprehensive cancer education program for Australian secondary school students. Paper presented at the ANZCHOG ASM, Adelaide, Australia.

McDonald, F. E. J., Patterson, P. & Wright, A. J. (2017, May). Development and piloting of a comprehensive cancer education program for secondary school students. Paper presented at the 13th Behavioural Research in Cancer Control Conference, Melbourne, Australia.

If you wish to find out more about this project please contact Stephanie Konings on stephanie.konings@canteen.org.au or 1800 234 007