Media Release: YouTube films help prepare children for cancer treatment

CHILDREN facing treatment for cancer can now download short films from YouTube to help prepare them for going into hospital.

The Children and Teenagers Scottish Cancer Network (CATSCAN) has launched a series of online videos aimed at making going into hospital a less daunting experience.

The six two-minute films, which can be downloaded from the CATSCAN website and YouTube, are designed to put children at ease by explaining what happens when they go into hospital for cancer treatment.

This project is understood to be the first of its kind in Scotland.

Nicola Sturgeon, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, officially launched the films this morning (Wednesday) at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh.

Each short clip focuses on a different theme, including going for a scan, going to the operating theatre, central lines, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and nutrition.

The films are aimed at children aged 10-12 who are undergoing cancer treatment, although they can also be used for younger children with adult supervision, or for teenagers to download themselves.

They feature a friendly staff nurse who goes through, step-by-step, what they can expect when they come into hospital.

Iona Mills, 11, from Edinburgh, is one of the patients featured in the films. Iona was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in July last year and underwent four courses of chemotherapy at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh.

She said: “Although the staff in the ward were very friendly and helpful, I still found it quite frightening when I went into hospital. I think these films will help other children who are getting treatment because it will show them what to expect when they go into hospital.”

Dr Hamish Wallace, Clinical Lead for CATSCAN, and paediatric oncologist for NHS Lothian, said:

“This is an exciting development which was initiated by the parents and families who are members of our network.

“When we first started looking into this project, I was surprised to find that there was nothing like this which was readily available to help prepare children for coming into hospital for cancer treatment. It is so important to allay children’s fears by telling them exactly what is going to happen when they go for a scan or go for treatment.

“This project is the first of its kind in Scotland, and we hope that in the future it could be rolled out through the rest of the UK.”

Nicola Sturgeon, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, said:

“It’s important that anyone going into hospital has as much information as possible about what to expect. That’s particularly true for people undergoing potentially lengthy cancer treatment – and especially children.

“That’s why I’m confident these short films are going to make such an important contribution. They de-mystify the whole process for children at a time when they may be frightened or confused. Being available through YouTube also means they can be found on a medium young people tend to be very comfortable with. I’m sure children and their families will find them very useful.”

The project is being run by CATSCAN and is funded by CATSCAN and NHS Education for Scotland (NES).

Notes for editors:

  • The Children and Teenagers Scottish Cancer Network (CATSCAN) was set up in November 2007 to improve the quality of cancer services for children, young people and their families in Scotland.
  • CATSCAN is a National Managed Clinical Network made up of representatives of the health sector.
  • Every year, around 150 children are diagnosed with cancer in Scotland. Currently, at least 80 per cent of those children diagnosed with cancer are alive five years after diagnosis.
  • To view the films, visit For more information on CATSCAN visit


Press release issued by NHS Lothian on behalf of the Children and Teenagers Scottish Cancer Network (CATSCAN)

Issued: 18.08.2010

Aileen MacArthur

Acting Communications Manager

NHS Lothian

0131 465 5646

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