Should our kids be educated about cancer?

Should our children be educated about cancer?
Should our children be educated about cancer?

As the kids head back to school this month, it’s tempting to look back with nostalgia to our own school days.

But the truth is that a lot has changed in the past two or three decades, and in the next few years, primary school pupils in Britain look set to see everything from keeping safe online and LGBT+ issues, to mental health, and cancer symptoms added to the curriculum.

A recent poll  revealed that the majority of British parents (69 per cent) believe that children should be taught about cancer symptoms in school. The poll, conducted on behalf of The Eve Appeal gynaecological cancer charity, also found that 83 per cent of parents feel it is important for their children to learn about illnesses and diseases which may affect them in the future.

The Eve Appeal's Put Cancer On The Curriculum campaign is now calling for the government's new draft guidance on relationships and health education to include education on cancer.

The appeal doesn’t really come as a big surprise as, back in July, it was announced that schoolchildren are to be given lessons in mental health and healthy living, becoming a mandatory part of the curriculum for all primary and secondary schools in England from autumn 2020. 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.

Athena Lamnisos, CEO 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 cancer screening, prevention and signs and symptoms education begins at age 10.”

Of course I’m a huge advocate for anything that helps us to save more young lives, but when it comes to putting cancer symptoms in the heads of impressionable young minds, I would appeal for that particular chapter of education to be aimed at the parents. Let’s allow the fragility of childhood innocence a few more precious years.