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HealthInfo Canterbury

Cancer in teens & young adults

Girl with cancer readingCancer in younger people is rare. The effects of having cancer are hard for everyone, but can be especially hard if you're a young person. At the same time as having cancer you may also be facing other challenges, such as working out your own identity, gaining independence, getting an education, developing relationships, experiencing intimacy, or starting work.

If you or someone you love or care about has been diagnosed with cancer you will probably have a lot of questions. There are a lot of places you can get help.

You can call on 0800‑CanTeen (0800‑226‑8336). By joining CanTeen online you can access counsellors who are available seven days a week, noon to midnight on weekdays and 1 pm to 8 pm on weekends. You can also chat with other young people who are affected by cancer 24 hours a day.

You can get 24 hour 7 days a week support from a community helpline, where you can speak to a counsellor or trained volunteer.

Free community helplines

If there is an emergency phone 111.


Phone: 0800-LIFELINE (0800-543-354)

Txt: HELP (4357)

Lifeline is a free confidential professional counselling service available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Freephone 0800‑376-633 (any time) or free txt 234 to speak to a counsellor.

You can also chat online using the webchat between 10 am and 10 pm, Tuesday to Friday and 4:30 pm to 10 pm, Saturday to Monday.

Email any time. Counsellors aim to respond to emails within 24 hours.

0800 What's Up

Phone 0800‑942‑8787

0800 What's Up is a free counselling helpline for children and youth. Call Monday to Friday, 12 noon to 11 pm. Saturday and Sunday, 3 pm to 11 pm.

On the following websites you'll find more resources and information that can help you and the people who are supporting you.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed January 2021.


Page reference: 53616

Review key: HICYT-53616