September marks the start of National Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month. This is a month we can all come together to raise awareness, show support and put a giant spotlight on the types of cancer that largely effect children.
President Barack Obama decide to make Pediatric Cancer Awareness a national priority. In his Presidential Proclamation he stated “Each year, pediatric cancer interrupts the childhood and limits the potential of thousands of young Americans. It is estimated that almost 16,000 of our daughters and sons under the age of 20 will be diagnosed with cancer this year, and it remains the leading cause of disease-related death for children. This month — in honor of these young patients, their loved ones, and all those who support them — we rededicate ourselves to combating this devastation.” He continued on to say “During National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, our Nation comes together to remember all those whose lives were cut short by pediatric cancer, to recognize the loved ones who know too well the pain it causes, and to support every child and every family battling cancer each day. We join with their loved ones and the researchers, health care providers, and advocates who support them as we work toward a tomorrow where all children are able to pursue their full measure of happiness without the burden of cancer.”
Like many of you that read this, Cancer may not have effected your life yet. Your children are happy, healthy and cancer free. And while you see the importance in raising awareness and money, Pediatric Cancer is just another cause among many that need attention raised. My only reply to this is the day before our son Tyson was diagnosed with cancer, We were not cancer parents either.
Just close your eyes and think for a moment about the facts in the image on the left. Cancer kills more kids under the age of 14 than Asthma, Juvenile Diabetes, Congenital Anomalies and Cystic Fibrosis COMBINED, yet it receive only 4% of the National Cancer funding.
Let me say that again, it receives ONLY 4% of ALL MONEY raised by the National Cancer Institute.
Childhood Cancer is a very difficult disease to treat. Some cancers almost never strike after the age of 5; others occur most often in teenagers. There are over a dozen types of childhood cancer and countless sub-types making it much more challenging for researchers to find a cure and that measly 4% is all they are given to preserve our future generations. If that did not make it hard enough for researchers, Childhood cancers are not related to lifestyle factors, and little can be done to prevent them. Many adult cancers can be detected early. In over 80% of childhood cases, the cancer has already spread to other areas of the body by the time it is diagnosed. September is them month that we can all come together and make it known that 4% is a unacceptable amount.
Even when kids get the same type of cancers that adults get—like lymphoma—they must be treated very differently. Children are not just smaller adults. This brings up the other major component of childhood cancer treatment. Because the funding for childhood cancer is so low, the only option that Dr’s have is to give them medicine intended for adults. We don’t give our kids adult Tylenol when they have a headache but when they get cancer, we inject them with adult doses of toxic chemicals set out to destroy cells. This cause long term problems. Even for kids who survive, the battle is not over. A recent study shows that because of the treatments they had as kids, by the time they’re 45, more than 95% of survivors will have a chronic health problem and 80% will have severe or life-threatening conditions.
Lets make it a point this September to never forget the lives that we loose to this disease. Let’s continue to raise awareness for research, treatment and care of our next generation. All it takes is to change you Facebook profile picture to a gold ribbon or donate to a charity that focuses on childhood cancer research like the Team Jack Foundation.(www.TeamJackFoundation.org)
The reality is that every 3 minutes, somewhere in the world a child will be diagnosed with cancer. That means in 3 minutes another family will be faced with the very real possibility that they could loose their child and the only medicine we have to help them could end up causing long term damage. Are you going to be part of the solution or just sit back and wait for it to be your child? The choice is yours and the time is NOW!