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CanTeen, The Australian Organisation for Young People Living with cancer, is the national support organisation for young people (aged 12–24) living with cancer; including cancer patients, their brothers and sisters and young people with parents or primary carers with cancer.

CanTeen was created by young cancer patients back in 1985 and its policies are guided by young people living with cancer. Also present in New Zealand.

On the last Friday of October, CanTeen hold National Bandanna Day (NBD) where Bandannas are sold to fundraise. National Bandanna Day is CanTeen’s largest fundraiser and this year (2015) it will be held on Friday 30th October. They're aiming to raise $1.25 million to support young people living with cancer. Every year, another 23,000 young people (63 a day) have to deal with the challenge of cancer. Bandannas play a significant role as a symbol of hope and empowerment for people who are affected by cancer and are worn during their cancer journey.

CanTeen helps young people cope with cancer in their family. Through CanTeen, they learn to explore and deal with their feelings about cancer, connect with other young people in the same boat and if they’ve been diagnosed themselves, CanTeen also provides specialist, youth-specific treatment teams. By feeling understood and supported, young people develop resilience and can rebuild the foundations that crumbled beneath them when cancer turned their life upside down. CanTeen works by having young people at the centre of everything they do. They were set up by a group of young cancer patients in 1985 and still have young people affected by cancer guiding the organisation at every level.

Combined with their leading edge research into the emotional and social impacts of cancer, it ensures that they truly understand how cancer is different in a young person’s world.

Peer support

Through CanTeen, young people affected by cancer can meet and be supported by others their age who truly understand what they’re going through. They can share experiences through the online community or attend CanTeen Camps or Recreation Days, where they can make new friends, develop coping skills and have a lot of fun too.


CanTeen’s specially trained counsellors give young people a safe space to talk about difficult thoughts and feelings and help them develop coping strategies. Sadness, anxiety and grief don’t stick to business hours so neither do CanTeen. Online and phone counselling is available seven days a week. Or you can also meet a counsellor face to face.

Information and advice

CanTeen has information and advice about the challenges young people face, from how to talk to friends about cancer to what all the medical jargon means. They can find answers at where they can also download or order books tailored to their specific cancer experience.

Youth Cancer Services

Funded by CanTeen as well as Federal, State and Territory health departments, the Youth Cancer Services provide specialist, age-appropriate medical treatment and psychological support for young people with cancer.

Online support

CanTeen provides world-leading online support for young people living with cancer. At, they have 24/7 access to a secure online community just for young people like them and can chat to a counsellor using instant messaging or email.

Leadership development

CanTeen is passionate about empowerment and is proud to have young people providing direction and advice at all levels of the organisation, including the Board of Directors. Being a Member-led organisation ensures that every aspect of CanTeen’s work is informed by young people so that they get the services, programs and information right. Any young person that receives support from CanTeen can put themselves forward to participate in the organisation’s governance structure. Each local CanTeen Division has a committee that meets regularly to oversee the planning of programs and activities within the Division. Young people hold the majority of positions on those committees. Each Division also elects one Member to sit on the Member Advisory Council and advise the Board.

CanTeen’s Board of Directors consists of five Member Directors and four Associate Directors, volunteers who bring relevant experience to the Board. CanTeen's Constitution requires that the President and Vice-President are CanTeen Members, and that all votes of the Board include a majority of Member Votes.

See also[edit]

Andrew Denton - The Topic of Cancer (1993)

External links[edit]