Youth Cancer Europe’s social awareness campaign aims at removing stigmas associated with cancer diagnosis amongst young people. The campaign was announced with the release of a video entitled #removelabels, in which a group of young cancer survivors hold up signs with their careers scratched out and their respective “cancer labels” taking centre stage before these are removed to defy the perception that cancer defines who they are.

Šarūnas Narbutas, co-Founder and Chairman of Youth Cancer Europe, said: “Our campaign to #removelabels carries a social awareness message. While we continue to fight at an institutional level for a better quality of life for young patients and survivors, we must remember that the word “cancer” still carries a lot of stigma with it, especially around young people. That’s why it’s important to remind society at large that young survivors simply want to resume a normal life after cancer. Their future means to them a lot more than a cancer diagnosis, and that’s just how they want to be seen by everyone else.”

“Survivors don’t want to identify with the labels that society assigns to them”, says Katie Rizvi, CEO and co-founder of Youth Cancer Europe. “Like any other young adult, they are people with their dreams and ambitions and a whole life ahead of them. To hinder that through stigmas, on top of existing limitations within public and private institutions, is to effectively rob them of a brighter future. They don’t want to have to keep their cancer past a secret when they apply for a job or meet someone new for fear of exclusion; they instead want to stop being seen as patients, and be recognised as professionals for the qualities that make them who they are as individuals.”