Forest Gate students teach about lung cancer

The students, from the sixth form at St Bonaventures in Forest Gate, took on the role of teachers by learning how to spot the symptoms of lung cancer and educating younger colleagues in a series of workshops.

The small c campaign aims to save thousands of lives through early cancer detection by raising awareness that most cancers can be successfully treated if caught when they are small.

Lung cancer is a primary focus as research shows most people survive if the disease is diagnosed at an early stage.

Taariq Miah, 17, from East Ham said teaching younger students meant he was better able to retain all the important information he’d been given about lung cancer and spotting it early.

He said: “One of the small c workers came to the sixth form to tell us all about the early symptoms of lung cancer. Then we developed powerpoint presentations and interactive games that we’ve shared with Year 10 classes.

“The younger students were really interested and more open to the message because it was being taught by their peers.

“Lung cancer is often thought of as a very scary issue, and sometimes when people suspect they have it they put off going to the GP because they don’t want to hear bad news.”

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Students are also encouraged to discuss the topic with their families at home to raise awareness with parents and older relatives.

St Bonaventure’s Head Teacher Paul Halliwell said his personal connection to lung cancer meant the campaign had his full support.

He said: “My mother passed away from lung cancer and my father from another lung-related illness so I am passionate about educating the younger generation.

“Spreading the message to students while they are still at a young, impressionable age means we have a greater chance of stamping out this awful disease.”

Symptoms include a cough for more than three weeks or one that has changed or got worse, shortness of breath, coughing up phlegm with blood in it, a hoarse voice and unexplained weight loss.