September is an important month in our battle against cancer. Several cancer awareness campaigns are observed this month.
Childhood Cancer Month
September is also a month dedicated to increase awareness of childhood cancer which kills more than 10,000 American children under the age of 15 each year. September 13 was designated as “National Childhood Cancer Awareness Day.” One of the major advocates for childhood cancer awareness is none other than Hillary Rodham Clinton, former first lady and senator, mother and current US Secretary of State. She says:
“We have made tremendous strides in the fight against childhood cancer, but far too many children still suffer and lose their lives to this illness. The more we know as a nation the better able we will be to prevent and treat the disease and help those who are battling and surviving pediatric cancers. National Childhood Cancer Awareness Day is an opportunity to reach out to all Americans with the facts about childhood cancer, and this day will be an important symbol of our commitment on all days to find a cure.”
The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute presents in its website stories of victims and survivors of childhood cancer.
The National Cancer Institute cites the following as the most common childhood cancers:
- Leukemias, especially acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
- Common solid tumors, such as brain tumors (e.g., gliomas and medulloblastomas),
- Less common solid tumors such as neuroblastomas, Wilms tumors, and sarcomas such as rhabdomyosarcoma and osteosarcoma)
Leukemias and brain cancer as well as cancers of the nervous system account for more than half of all childhood cancers. The causes of childhood cancers are still unknown.
Continued, unexplained weight loss
Headaches, often with early morning vomiting
Increased swelling or persistent pain in bones, joints, back, or legs
Lump or mass, especially in the abdomen, neck, chest, pelvis, or armpits
Development of excessive bruising, bleeding, or rash
A whitish color behind the pupil
Nausea which persists or vomiting without nausea
Constant tiredness or noticeable paleness
Eye or vision changes which occur suddenly and persist
Recurrent or persistent fevers of unknown origin
Other cancer awareness observances this month are:
- Leukemia & Lymphoma Awareness Month, sponsored by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). LLS is currently campaigning for more sponsors to support the National Blood Cancer Awareness Month Resolution to be submitted to the US Congress. Check out how you can help. Leukemia and lymphoma fall under the category of blood cancers and are also common childhood cancers.
- Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, sponsored by the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC)
- Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, sponsored by Zero, the project to end prostate cancer.
Other infos on childhood cancer are available at
- Care for Children and Adolescents with Cancer: Questions and AnswersCare for Children and Adolescents with Cancer: Questions and Answers www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/NCI/children-adolescents (National Cancer Institute); Also available in SpanishSpanish www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/facsheet/NCI/children-adolescents-Spanish
- Childhood CancerChildhood Cancer kidshealth.org/parent/medical/cancer/cancer.html(Nemours Foundation); Also available in SpanishSpanish kidshealth.org/parent/en_espanol/medicos/cancer_esp.html
- Young People with Cancer: A Handbook for ParentsYoung People with Cancer: A Handbook for Parents www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/youngpeople (National Cancer Institute)