{September} – Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

*You can see my sweet friend, Caleb Huffines, in the video as well as learn more about him through his mom’s blog: Caleb is My Hero

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month’s main objective is to raise awareness about the types of cancer that largely affect children, as well as survivorship issues, and, importantly, to help raise funds for research groups working towards cures.

Facts about Pediatric Cancer

{via People Against Childhood Cancer}:
Incidence of Childhood Cancer

  • Each year around 13,500 children are diagnosed with cancer in the US
  • One in every 330 Americans develops cancer before the age of twenty.
  • On the average, 36 children and adolescents are diagnosed with cancer everyday in the United States {around 46 per school day}.
  • On the average, one in every four elementary schools has a child with cancer. The average high school has two students who are current or former cancer patients.
  • The incidence of invasive pediatric cancers is up 29% in the past 20 years.
  • The causes of most childhood cancers are unknown. At present, childhood cancer cannot be prevented.
  • Childhood cancer occurs regularly, randomly and spares no ethnic group, socioeconomic class, or geographic region. In the United States, the incidence of cancer among adolescents and young adults is increasing at a greater rate than any other age group, except those over 65 years.

Mortality associated with Childhood Cancer

  • Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children under the age of 15 in the United States.
  • 1 in 4 children diagnosed with cancer will die
  • Some pediatric brain tumors, such as brain stem gliomas and pontine gliomas, are terminal upon diagnosis and no new protocols have been developed in 30 years.
  • Many pediatric cancers, including neuroblastoma and disseminated medulloblastoma, are terminal upon progression or recurrence.
  • The average age of death for a child with cancer is 8, causing a child to lose 69 years of expected life.
  • Childhood cancers affect more potential patient-years of life than any other cancer except breast and lung cancer.
  • Cancer kills more children than AIDs, asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis and congenital anomalies combined.

Long Term Health Effects of the “Cure”

  • 74% of childhood cancer survivors have chronic illnesses, and some 40% of childhood cancer survivors have severe illnesses or die from such illnesses.
  • Childhood cancer survivors are at significant risk for secondary cancers later in life.
  • Cancer treatments can affect a child’s growth, fertility, and endocrine system. Child survivors may be permanently immunologically suppressed.
  • Radiation to a child’s brain can significantly damage cognitive function, or if radiation is given at a very young age, limiting the ability to read, do basic math, tell time or even talk.
  • Physical and neurocognitive disabilities resulting from treatment may prevent childhood cancer survivors from fully participating in school, social activities and eventually work, which can cause depression and feelings of isolation.
  • Childhood cancer survivors have difficulty getting married and obtaining jobs, health and life insurance.

Funding Disparities

  • Despite these facts, childhood cancer research is vastly and consistently underfunded.
  • In 20 years the FDA has initially approved only one drug for any childhood cancer – 1/2 of all chemotherapies used for children’s cancers are over 25 years old
  • Research and development for new drugs from pharmaceutical companies comprises 60% of funding for adult cancer drugs and close to zero for childhood cancers. However, the NCI spends 96% of its budget on adult cancers and only 4% of its budget on children’s cancers.
Caleb Huffines, forever 5 {photo credit: Operation GOLD}

How You Can Help Find a Cure

In Memory of my young friend you can send donations to:
Children’s Medical Center
Attn: Kathy Friend
2777 Stemmons Frwy Suite 700
Dallas, TX 75207
You can make checks payable to: Children’s Medical Center {in the memo space put: “in memory of Caleb Huffines“}

Donate to Wipe Out Kid’s Cancer:
Children are fighting valiantly every day to survive cancer and their only hope of a cure is through more research. WOKC provides critical funding to key research initiatives on a national basis.  Plus, if you are are in the DFW area, you can join the fight against childhood cancer by participating in the 26th annual Tom Thumb WOKC Run for the Children on Saturday, September 17, 2011.

Donate to CureSearch:
CureSearch for Children’s Cancer believes that only research can cure children’s cancer. Your support helps fund lifesaving, collaborative research at children’s hospitals across the nation, providing patients with global expertise at their local hospital.

Donate to Alex’s Lemonade Stand:
In addition to funding cutting-edge research into finding better treatments and ultimately cures, ALS also funds nursing grants to improve the quality of life and care of children with cancer. Your donation of $50 will fund one hour of research. You can also text “LEMONADE E76598” to 85944 to make a $10 donation!

Donate to Battle 4 A Cure:
Battle4aCure’s mission is to enrich the lives of children with cancer by raising funds for scientific research and clinical trials to discover advanced treatments for childhood cancers and to potentially find a cure.

Seek out a way to help in your local community or through an organization you are familiar with. Do you have a child or friend fighting cancer? I am hoping to spotlight more stories this month to let the world know that Childhood Cancer is a reality and the need for a cure is a necessity. Please contact me with your story if you would like to share or if you know of another way to help fund research.