BY MOLLIE S. WATERS
The Greenville Standard
September is recognized as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
According to American Childhood Cancer Organization’s (ACCO) website, almost 16,000 children under the age of 21 are diagnosed with some type of childhood cancer each year. Of those, nearly a quarter will not survive.
The purpose of the month, therefore, is to raise awareness of the types of cancers and to help promote efforts to treat those cancers.
“The objective of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is to put a spotlight on the types of cancer that largely affect children, survivorship issues, and – importantly – to help raise funds for research and family support,” states the ACCO website.
According to Cancer.org, the most common type of childhood cancer is leukemia.
“Leukemias, which are cancers of the bone marrow and blood, are the most common childhood cancers,” states Cancer.org. “They account for about 30% of all cancers in children. The most common types in children are acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) and acute myelogenous leukemia (AML).”
Other common types of childhood cancers include brain and spinal cord tumors, neuroblastoma, Wilms tumor, lymphoma (including both Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin), rhabdomyosarcoma, retinoblastoma, and bone cancer (including osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma).
Regrettably, most childhood cancers cannot be prevented.
“Unlike many cancers of adults,” states Cancer.org, “lifestyle-related risk factors (such as smoking) don’t influence a child’s risk of getting cancer.
“If your child does develop cancer, it is important to know that it is extremely unlikely there is anything you or your child could have done to prevent it.”
Because the cancers cannot be prevented, that is why awareness is so much more important for these types of cancers.
By knowing what to look for with each of these cancer types, parents and others may be able to detect the cancers in their earlier stages. The earlier the cancer is detected, the higher the child’s chances of survival and full recovery.
To learn more about childhood cancers, visit the ACCO website at https://www.acco.org/childhood-cancer-awareness-month/ and Cancer.org’s website at https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-in-children/preventing-childhood-cancers.html.