Childhood cancer is the leading cause of death in children under 14. In 2012, September was named as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Read on to find out what you need to know about this life-threatening disease.
How Bad is It?
It may be shocking to learn just how bad cancer rates are among children. Here are some things to be aware of.
· Every day, 43 American children are diagnosed with cancer.
· At least 300,000 children and adolescents are diagnosed with cancer each year worldwide.
· 10% of childhood cancer is caused by an inherited genetic mutation.
· More than 95% of childhood cancer survivors are dealing with treatment related health issues.
What’s Being Done
Childhood cancer statistics are scary, but fortunately, scientists and researchers are constantly working to find new treatments that boost survival rates. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is a leader in many of these projects and has been successful in reaching the following goals.
· The treatments developed at St. Jude’s have increased childhood cancer survival rates from 20% to 80% in the 50 years since they first opened.
· St. Jude spearheads more childhood clinical trials than any other children’s hospital in America.
· St. Jude partnered with the World Health Organization on a global initiative that aims to cure at least 60% of children with six of the most common cancers by 2030.
· St. Jude shares research with medical communities worldwide via data sharing and analysis resources to further increase survival rates.
· St. Jude focuses on genetic mutations that cause cancer and uses early detection to treat them before it’s too late. They are also working on finding out why these genetic mutations occur to eliminate them at the source.
· The hospital is aiming to reduce treatment related health issues by gaining a better understanding of treatment’s long term effects.
How to Prevent Childhood Cancer
Many children develop cancer for genetic reasons, but there are ways to increase the odds in your favor. Here are some things parents can be doing to reduce the risk of cancer in their kids.
· Don’t Use Tobacco: Using tobacco products results in secondhand smoke that increases the risk of cancer. Also, children whose parents smoke are 25% more likely to start smoking as compared to children with parents who are nonsmokers.
· Protect Them from Sunburn: The sun causes skin cancer. Keep your child protected by applying sunblock, making them wear sunglasses and having them stay out of the sun during peak hours.
· Feed Them a Healthy Diet: Feed your child a diet of antioxidant-rich foods like fruits and vegetables and avoid giving them processed meats and salts.
· Encourage Exercise: Exercise stabilizes estrogen and insulin, hormones that are linked to cancer. A physically active lifestyle will reduce the risk of breast, bowel, and uterine cancer.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and it’s a great time to think about what you can be doing to reduce the risk of cancer for your child and children all over the world. What steps will you be taking to improve statistics?