Childhood Cancer Awareness Month – You Can Help Too!
The impact of childhood cancer on a family can naturally be devastating. The innocence of childhood play, lost forever in hospitals, and even for those fortunate survivors, the after effects of this terrible disease means adult life, often, will never be the same.
In the US alone, each year, almost 16,000 children under age 21, are diagnosed with cancer (American Childhood Cancer Organization (ACCO). It’s a very sad reality, made worse by the fact that around one quarter of these children won’t see adulthood.
The US, for reasons not yet clear, have one of the highest childhood cancer rates in the world, when comparing to Europe and other developed countries.
The UK have 4,000 new diagnoses each year yet statistics show that over three quarters of children with cancer, around 82%, are likely to survive following successful treatment (Children With Cancer UK). Fifty years ago, three quarters would have died, showing significant developments.
Both in the US and UK though, childhood cancer remains the leading cause of death for children between six months old and young adulthood, with the highest mortality rates in under five year olds.
Raising Awareness to Improve Early Diagnosis
Weight loss, headaches, vomiting, pains in bones and joints, unusual lumps and bumps, excessive bleeding and bruising, rashes, fevers, plus continual infections and constant tiredness are some of the things parents and carers alike need to be on the look out for.
Another reason why childhood cancer becomes difficult to treat is that diagnosis is made when the cancer has already started to spread to other parts of the body. This is true of 80% of diagnoses.
Research is Essential for Childhood Cancer Survival
In the past 50 years, research has increased survival rates. However, in the last 20 years, only two new drugs have been developed to treat childhood cancer (ACCO).
The complexity of childhood cancer means that treatment often needs to be specific and unique to the child depending on their age, body size and immune system. Treatment can therefore be challenging and researchers strive to find a solution that can be more widely benefited from.
Leukemia, accounts for over 25% of all types of childhood cancer. Survival rates of certain leukemias, alongside other high-risk cancers that are difficult to treat, such as cancer of the central nervous system and some bone cancers are still extremely low, between 7% and 31% (Kids Cancer Care).
Brain tumors, although less common, are the most deadly of childhood cancers.
Survival – It Doesn’t End There
60% of cancer survivors are left with a permanent health issue. Common are deafness, blindness, growth issues, fertility problems, and psychological or neurological disorders.
After-care is needed for most cancer patients to help them live the best life possible.
Kids Can't Fight Cancer Alone
Research is essential if children stand a chance of survival. Equally important is global wide education on the types of cancer that affect children and the reality that treatment options are currently limited.
This is why every year in the US, September is a month where families, caregivers, charities and research groups campaign to raise awareness and the all-important funds to continue groundbreaking research and help support children and families who are suffering from childhood cancer.
Charities such as the American Cancer Organization, who’s slogan is “kids can’t fight cancer alone” and The Children’s Cancer Research Fund are two of many charities who will be organizing events this September.
Why Not Join In?
With a child being diagnosed with cancer somewhere in the world every 3 minutes, they need all the help they can get.
Do you work in a professional environment where you could organize an event for clients? Are you a teacher who could get your school involved? Wherever you spend your days or evenings, think how you could help support Child Cancer Awareness month.
The money you raise can help towards the quality of life for a sick child and go a little towards giving the families the support they need.