10 Things You Should Know About Childhood Cancer

In honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, we are shedding some light on this sensitive topic.  Having a child with cancer is one of the most painful and difficult situations a family can face.  One in 285 children will be diagnosed with cancer by the time they turn 20, and each year, 300,000 families around the world will hear, “your child has cancer.”  Despite this, less than 4% of the federal government’s total funding for cancer research is dedicated to childhood cancers each year making individual support so critical.  Below are 10 things you should know about childhood cancer.

  1. Childhood cancer is the number one disease killer of children in the U.S.  It’s the second leading cause of death (following accidents) in children ages 5-14.

  1. Every two minutes a child is diagnosed with cancer. That’s 300,000 kids around the world every year.

  1. The average age of a child diagnosed with cancer is 6. However, you don’t have to be a child to be diagnosed with childhood cancer.  Childhood cancer is diagnosed in all ages, from newborn infants to children and young adults.

  1. 80% of children diagnosed with cancer are in developing countries. Childhood cancer is a global problem, and one institution can’t solve it alone.

  1. The most common childhood cancer is acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). In the 1950s, almost every kid with ALL died. Today, thanks to childhood cancer research, about 90% of children with ALL will survive.

  1. In 80% of kids with cancer, the cancer has already spread to other areas of the body by the time it is diagnosed. That’s why so many children with cancer need to begin treatment right away.  Many adult cancers can be diagnosed early.

  1. Much of what we know about treating adult cancers has been learned from childhood cancer research. Some aspects of cancer treatment today, such as combination chemotherapy, can be traced to pediatric cancer research.

  1. There are over a dozen types of childhood cancers and hundreds of different subtypes. The rarer types, when added together, account for about 30% of cancers in children and adolescents. Unfortunately, because so few children are diagnosed with each type, it’s very difficult to conduct research on these cancers.

  1. One in five children diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. will not survive. For the ones who do, the battle is never over.

  1. Because of the treatments they had as children, more than 99% of childhood cancer survivors will have a chronic health problem and 96% will have severe or life-threatening conditions. By the time they’re 50 years old, survivors of childhood cancer experience about 5 severe or life-threatening chronic health conditions on average.

While these statics are staggering, there are several organizations working to support families, fund research, and create awareness including the American Childhood Cancer Organization, St. Baldrick’s Foundation, and Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF).  To date, ALSF alone has raised more than $150 million and funded more than 800 cutting-edge research projects at 135 institutions.  This month join ALSF and “turn the world gold” in honor of childhood cancer!  Here are 5 quick & easy ways you can get involved this September.

  1. Join Alex’s Million Mile! This September teams around the world are logging all the miles they run, walk or ride and together will reach 1 million miles for childhood cancer awareness.
  1. Display your support for ALSF by adding a Twibbon. You can add an image to your Facebook profile picture or your Twitter picture.
  1. If you don’t already, follow ALSF on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!
  1. Update your social media cover photos, banners and profile pictures with some of specially designed shareables just in time for September! You can download the shareables here.
  1. Give to ALSF to fund research to find better treatments and cures!

In addition, we encourage you to check out the ALSF website today to see what fundraising and awareness events are taking place in your travel assignment area during the month of September to see how else you can get involved!

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