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 highly curable in young people, 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?

In 2008, we launched the PITS campaign with support from the Department of Health to raise awareness of lymphoma amongst university students.

Lymphoma is the most common cancer in the under-30s but it’s very easy to put the warning signs down to a busy student lifestyle.

Group of students holding pint glasses with the most common lymphoma symptoms written on them.An independent survey of students by OpinionPanel in 2010 found that over a third of university students had never heard of lymphoma before.

When we repeated the survey in 2012 after two years of raising awareness, we found that 75% of third year students (who would have been exposed to the campaign) had heard of lymphoma, as opposed to only 54% of students who were in their first year (and wouldn’t have seen our campaign).

Since 2008 we’ve visited around 40 universities across the UK to speak to students and raise awareness of lymphoma.

In 2013 alone we went to 10 more university freshers’ fairs and spoke to over 3,500 students directly about lymphoma and its most common symptoms. Check out the full story of how we got on:

Get involved

This year’s PITS freshers’ fair visits will begin in September. 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 years’ fairs.
  • Put our posters up at your university campus/office or send bookmarks to your friends to make them aware of lymphoma. Just 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.

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.