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September is childhood cancer awareness month symbolized by a yellow ribbon. Even though childhood cancers are rare, they are the leading cause of disease related death in individuals aged 1 to 19 years of age in the United States. They are second only to accidents when weighing all cause mortality of individuals ages 1 to 14. More than 15,000 children in the US will be diagnosed with cancer in 2020. Due to advances in medicine, research, and treatment approximately 84% will survive 5 years or more. The years of 1990 to 2004 saw a decline in childhood cancer deaths of 2% due to these advancements. But, there is still much work to be done. A little over a 1,000 children in the US are expected to die of their cancer diagnosis this year. This post will place the spotlight on childhood cancer and bring awareness to this challenging issue.
Most common types of childhood cancer
Childhood cancers most commonly involve the central nervous system, lymph nodes, blood and bone marrow, bones, kidneys, and soft tissues. Common diagnoses include primary tumors of the brain and spine, leukemia, lymphoma, Ewing sarcoma, rhabdomyosarcoma, neuroblastoma, retinoblastoma, and Wilm’s tumor. Some cancers affect younger children more than adolescents and vice versa. They can all be similarly life-threatening depending on the stage in which they are discovered and several other prognosticators.
Long term effects of childhood cancer
A childhood cancer diagnosis not only impacts the child, but the social and economic toll on families can be devastating. Long term and late effect monitoring is crucial as these children journey into adulthood. Most children will develop a chronic health condition or second cancer as a result of their treatment. Several organizations have been established to raise awareness of childhood cancers and offer critical resources for clinicians and families.
Helpful links on childhood cancer
To find out more about childhood cancer and how to donate to the cause check out these organizations below (*None of these links are affiliate links):