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National cancer survey finds 95% of children under 16 feel well looked after

7 January 2022

A national survey developed in collaboration with children, parents, NHS staff and charities has found that 95% of children with cancer feel well looked after.

The Under 16 (U16) Cancer Patient Experience Survey launched by NHS England is the first-ever national survey of cancer patients aged between 8 and 15.

Dr Julie Davies, Director of Performance at Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin CCG, said: “Children and young people have very different experiences of cancer to adults, so a personalised approach to their care is hugely important. A diagnosis of childhood cancer can have a devastating impact on the emotional health and wellbeing of a child and their family, both during and after treatment – so it is vital that we better understand their experiences.”

Key findings from the survey include:

  • 95% of young cancer patients aged between 8 and 15 felt they were looked after well by NHS healthcare staff during 2020.
  • 92% of parents/carers rated the overall experience of their child’s care as at least 8 out of 10.
  • 89% of parents/carers felt that they and their child were always treated with respect and dignity by staff.
  • 85% said they always had confidence and trust in the staff treating their child.
  •  70% of parents/carers and children said when they were told about the cancer or tumour, the information was definitely given to them in a way they could understand.

Dr Davies added: “It’s so important for us to listen and learn from children and young people in order to provide them with the best possible care and experience throughout treatment. The results from this survey give us invaluable insight into the experiences of young cancer patients so we can build on what’s working well and identify what we can do better.”

The U16 Cancer Patient Experience Survey was developed in collaboration with children, parents, NHS staff and charities. The full results can be viewed at here.

If you are concerned about possible cancer symptoms, it is important to seek help quickly, whatever the age of the person affected; contact your GP without delay – they will see you. Information on the signs and symptoms of cancer in children can be found on the Cancer Research UK website.

“Most of these symptoms will have other, less serious explanations,” added Dr Davies. “But it is still very important to see your doctor if your child has these symptoms, so they can be investigated quickly. Some routine GP appointments may be postponed to free up more capacity for booster jabs, but if your child has potential cancer symptoms your GP will want to see you. Finding cancer early makes it more treatable, so it’s important not to delay.”

Page last updated 7 January 2022