PITS student awareness campaign

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Three students holding pint glasses with lymphoma symptoms written on them

You might not have heard of lymphoma, or lymphatic cancer, before. In fact, the first time most people hear of it is when they’re directly affected by it. And that can be pretty frightening.

In a nutshell, lymphoma is a cancer that starts in the lymphatic system. PITS is an acronym of four of the most common lymphoma symptoms:

  • Persistent lumps (usually in your neck, armpit or groin)
  • Itching
  • Tiredness
  • Sweating (particularly at night).

Lymphoma is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in under 30’s, yet it’s highly curable in young people.

Many of the symptoms can be easily mistaken for the effects of an active student lifestyle (what student isn’t tired?) so if you notice some or all of these symptoms, don’t wait. Contact the Lymphoma Association helpline or visit your GP if you are concerned about any changes.

What is the PITS campaign?

PITS Warning signs

We launched the PITS campaign in 2008 with support from the Department of Health to raise awareness of lymphoma and its symptoms among university students.

Group of students holding pint glasses with the most common lymphoma symptoms written on them.In 2014, we visited 11 different university freshers’ fairs and engaged with more than 3,000 students, talking to them about the signs and symptoms of lymphoma.  More than 2,250 of them completed our online survey. We found that over 50% of the students were not aware of lymphoma and nearly all of them were unaware that lymphoma is the most common cancer in the under 30’s.

However, after talking with us 98% of the students were more likely to visit a doctor if they had any of the PITS symptoms.

Get involved

This year’s PITS freshers’ fair visits will begin in September and we will be visiting universities from Bournemouth to Bolton. We’re always looking for people to raise awareness of lymphoma - whether you’re a young person or student, a parent, a health professional or someone directly affected by lymphoma.

If you would like to help raise awareness of lymphoma, here’s just a few ways you can get involved with the PITS campaign:

  • Volunteer to help at one of this year’s fairs - just email us at communications@lymphomas.org.uk.
  • Put our posters up at your university campus/office or send bookmarks to your friends to make them aware of lymphoma. Email us at communications@lymphomas.org.uk to request some bookmarks or posters.
  • If you’ve been affected by lymphoma, share your story in the media or on our website to make others aware of the symptoms of the disease.
  • Hold an awareness day at your university campus.
  • Get involved with fundraising for the Lymphoma Association.

Email communications@lymphomas.org.uk for more ideas about how you can help raise awareness of lymphoma.

Volunteer at our PITS campaign

Personal experiences of lymphoma

Lymphoma is the UK’s fifth most common cancer and every 40 minutes another person learns they have it. Kathryn discovered that she had lymphoma whilst getting ready for a girls night out. Watch the video below, which tells Kathryn’s story and highlights the main symptoms. You can also read more real life stories about personal experiences with lymphoma.