September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. A few years ago if you asked me if I knew someone who had a childhood cancer I would probably respond that I only knew one person. A distant cousin of mine who is now in her early 20s had Leukemia at a young age, but I didn’t know much about it. I was just a child myself, and it wasn’t discussed much around me other than the occasional conversation I would overhear about her getting better.
Fast forward to adulthood, and I am definitely more aware now when it comes to childhood cancer and how many children are affected by it. As a mother I am saddened when I hear about a child who is suffering with cancer. My husband has a young cousin, Aiden, who has been battling Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) since 2013. This is a very aggressive form of brain cancer found at the base of the brain among nerves making it extremely difficult to treat. Because this type of tumor occurs in the brain stem complete surgical removal is not an option. The survival rate from DIPG is grim.
Facts About Childhood Cancer:
According to the American Childhood Cancer Organization approximately 15,780 children and young people under the age of 21 in the U.S. are diagnosed with some form of cancer each year. ¼ of those diagnosed will not survive.
Cancer is the #1 cause of disease related death among those under 15.
In 1977 the survival rate for among those diagnosed with a childhood cancer was 50%. Today the 5 year survival rate has grown to 80%, but rates vary among the different types of childhood cancer. In Aiden’s case, DIPG’s survival rate is not good. The 1 year survival rate for this devastating cancer is 30%, and the 2 year survival rate falls to 10%.
How Can You Help?
Become informed. Learn the facts about childhood cancer research and the lack of federal funding. Spread the word about childhood cancers and the research that is needed to reach the goal of 100% survival rate.
If you have the means, consider donating to the childhood cancer charity of your choice. There are many organizations out there such as the ACCO and Alex’s Lemonade Stand that are diligently working to raise funds for childhood cancer research, clinical trials, and family support.
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