Is Cancer a Taboo Topic in your Classroom?
According to a recent health report, 12 million people are diagnosed with cancer each year, and that number is expected to rise to 27 million by 2030. Statistics like those show that cancer is an issue that we need to be talking about with students. Everyone knows someone who has been touched by one form of cancer.
The cost of medical care is something that we can’t ignore. Are you interested in using authentic materials in class? This Reuters article “Cancer Cost Becoming Unsustainable in Rich Nations” describes the rising costs of technology, treatment, and medicine related to cancer. Share this article with your students and see what they think about this change. You can print out the article and have the students read it, or read it out loud to them for listening practice. For lower level learners, simply summarize the main points and teach a few key expressions. After introducing the topic, discuss the issues.
Here are a few questions to get you started:
- Why is there such a huge rise in cancer worldwide?
- What does “unsustainable” mean? When might you use this word?
- What does it mean to “bury one’s head in the sand”?
- What does it mean to “be at a crossroads”?
- Why does innovation increase the cost of healthcare?
- Do governments ensure fair access to medical treatment in your country?
- What should be done to reduce the costs of medical treatment and drugs related to cancer?
“An explosion of new technologies and treatments for cancer coupled with a rapid rise in cases of the disease worldwide mean cancer care is rapidly becoming unaffordable in many developed countries.”
Kate Kelland, Reuters
Our Health Matters section features a full-length lesson on 6 Myths about Cancer. If your students are interested in this topic, be sure to print out a few of the related lessons.
Go to Health Lesson on Cancer
Go to Famous People Lesson on Terry Fox
Go to Famous Places Lesson on the Love Canal
Go to Living in English Lesson on Health
Go to Mini Debate Lesson on Caring for the Elderly
While our Something to Talk About suggestions are useful for getting your students involved in a group or pair discussion or debate, the topics, articles, and videos can also be used if you are looking for something for your students to blog/Skype/or write an opinion essay about.