Hearing and dealing with a childhood cancer diagnosis can be one of the most devastating and scary experiences for a family. According to the American Cancer Society, about 11,060 children in the United States under 15-years-old will be diagnosed with cancer in 2019. For the past few decades childhood cancer rates have slightly increased. More than 80 percent of children with cancer survive for five years or more thanks to treatment advances in recent decades. Despite medical advances, after accidents, cancer is the second leading cause of death in children between 5 and 14-years-old. In 2019 nearly 1,200 youth younger than 15-years-old are expected to pass from cancer.
Governor Bill Lee proclaimed September 2019 as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in Tennessee to help raise awareness. Here are several facts about childhood cancers;
· Every two minutes, a child is diagnosed with cancer; that’s 300,000 children around the globe every year.
· The average age of a child diagnosed with cancer is 6-years-old; however, childhood cancer is diagnosed in all ages, from newborn infants to children and young adults.
· The most common childhood cancer is acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL); thanks to childhood cancer research, the 5-year survival rate for children with ALL has increased to 92%.
· Families often have to travel for cancer treatment; treatment can cause a financial and psychological burden on families who have to juggle cancer treatment with distance, lost days at work, separation from family and the financial cost of travel, hotels and gas.
· There is hope; support of research projects for all types of childhood cancer can bring us closer to cures.
Possible signs and symptoms of childhood cancer
Cancers in children can be hard to recognize because early symptoms are often similar to symptoms caused by common illnesses or injuries. Cancer in children is not common but it’s important to visit a doctor if they have signs or symptoms that don’t go away such as;
· An unusual lump or swelling
· Easy bruising
· Unexplained paleness and loss of energy
· Ongoing pain in one specific area of the body
· Frequent headaches, often with vomiting
· Unexplained fever or illness that will not go away
· Sudden eye or vision changes
· Unexplained and sudden weight loss