just an idea that popped into my head, but. . .you could make up little baggies, one for each student in the class, with jelly beans of different colors in them. just to make it interesting i'd try to get black bags (maybe at a party store) and as you hand one to everyone, tell them, "you've just found that you have a lump on your ________". no one opens their baggy until you tell them to. as you go through your presentation you reveal what the different colors mean. so, a "cancer" baggy would have, let's say a black bean (cancer), a pink one (surgery), a yellow one (chemotherapy) and/or a blue one (radiation therapy), an orange one (recurrence) and then a red one (prognosis of death in 6 months), or a green one (no further recurrence). this way everyone gets involved and you've managed to give them a little something to eat as well.
i'm sure if you think on it you could come up with variations on this. i just did a post with links for someone doing a presentation on diversity looking for some activities to involve the audience. perhaps if you check those web sites you might find some activity you could adapt to your presentation.
as for being told you only have 6 months to live, i'd go to a growth and development book at look at the tasks involved in the end stages of life as well as a book on preparing for death. when you know you have only 6 months left to live you are going to start developing a list of things you have to wrap up and conclude before you die. some people start mending fences with relatives, some get religion, etc.
what if you live? i can tell you that from my own experience. i was diagnosed with thyroid cancer 30 years ago while i was a nursing student. my first thought, "i'm going to die." i spent my next 5 years or more doing things with the aim of probably not making it to the age of 30. surprise! i'm 56 and still around. not only that, but had a second tumor found and treated 9 years ago. i wasn't so paranoid about getting things ready for my death because as a nurse of 20+ years at that time i knew so much more. what i haven't been prepared for was the long term effects of the radiation treatments: the long term effects of being euthyroid, the chronic inflammation on the left side of my face from the radiation therapy, and recently the 75 hyperbaric oxygen treatments i had to go through to fend off osteoradionecrosis of my jaw. believe me, i had my head buried in the books and doing internet searches for what is done when the jaw bone just deteriorates away from radiation. i live, not in constant fear anymore, but with the thought that it is very likely that i will develop a third cancer. so, i get all my yearly tests done that my internist recommends, i occasionally check for lumps, particularly in my neck since that has been the place where my two tumors showed up, and i make sure i have medical insurance up the kazoo in case something comes up because treatment is expensive. i used to wonder why it had happened to me for a long time. i never found an answer. i have my suspicions that i have discussed with doctors who just look at me and give me that doctor frown. it is maddening for someone who has to have answers in a tidy, rational bundle.
here is a link to m.d. anderson cancer center http://www.mdanderson.org/
where there is information for the public on cancer, including statistics.
- here are the statistics on cancer to link into. they also have statistics by state as well