A few years ago, I heard the song ‘Ronan’ by Taylor Swift during the Stand Up for Cancer show on television. It was the first time I had heard the song and the first time I had heard about Ronan, the sweet blue eyed boy from Arizona who passed away at the age of 3 of cancer.
It was that day that I started my quest to fight and advocate for childhood cancer.
I do not have a child with cancer. I have never known someone in my personal life who has had childhood cancer, but what I do have, are children that I love with all of my heart and could never imagine them having to go through the illness and disease that is cancer or the torture of treatment.
Did you know…
Childhood cancer has increased an average of a 0.6% per year from 1975 to 2010, from 12.5 to 16.8 cases per 100,000 population. This represents about a 35% increase in the number of children diagnosed over that period.
Each year in the United States, approximately 13,500 children and adolescents under the age of 20, are diagnosed with cancer.
In 2014 is it expected that overall, 1 in 285 children will be diagnosed with cancer before age 20.
About 43 children per day or 15,780 children total are expected to be diagnosed with cancer in 2014. This includes 10,450 aged 0 to 14, and 5,330 aged 15 to 19
Over 175,000 children are diagnosed with cancer worldwide each year.
Prior to their 20th birthday, one out of every 300 males and one out of every 333 females in America will develop cancer.
The average age at diagnosis is 6 years old, while adults’ average age is 66
Childhood cancer in not one disease, there are 16 major types of pediatric cancers and over 100 subtypes.
The causes of most childhood cancers are unknown. At present, childhood cancer cannot be prevented.
Childhood cancer occurs regularly, randomly and spares no ethnic group, socioeconomic class, or geographic region. In the United States, the incidence of cancer among adolescents and young adults is increasing at a greater rate than any other age group, except those over 65 years.
The average 5-year survival rate for all childhood cancers combined is 83%.
Cancer survival rates vary not only for the different types of cancer, but also upon factos specific to each child.
Survival rates for childhood cancers can range from as little as 0% for cancers such as DIPG, a type of brain cancer, to or as much as 90% for ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia) leukemia, one specific form of leukemia.
In 2010 there were 379,112 childhood cancer survivors in the United States.
Approximately 1 in 530 young adults between the ages of 20 years and 39 years is a survivor of childhood cancers.
While five years is a common criteria for cancer survival after diagnosis, when reviewing criteria for children, with their whole life ahead, we should also consider long-term survival.
There are 71 life years lost on average when a child dies of cancer compared to 17 life years lost for adults.
Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease among children, killing more children than all other diseases combined.
Cancer is responsible for more deaths per year in children than all other diseases combined. Cancer claims the lives of more children each year than AIDS, asthma, cystic fibrosis and diabetes combined.
PAC2 estimates that around 34% of children diagnosed with childhood cancer survivors will die within 30 years of diagnosis.
74% of childhood cancer survivors have chronic illnesses, and some 40% of childhood cancer survivors have severe illnesses or die from such illnesses.
Childhood cancer survivors are at significant risk for secondary cancers later in life.
Cancer treatments can affect a child’s growth, fertility, and endocrine system. Child survivors may be permanently immunologically suppressed.
Radiation to a child’s brain can significantly damage cognitive function, or if radiation is given at a very young age, limiting the ability to read, do basic math, tell time or even talk.
Physical and neurocognitive disabilities resulting from treatment may prevent childhood cancer survivors from fully participating in school, social activities and eventually work, which can cause depression and feelings of isolation.
Childhood cancer survivors have difficulty getting married and obtaining jobs, health and life insurance.
Despite these facts, childhood cancer research is vastly and consistently underfunded.
In 20 years the FDA has initially approved only two drugs for any childhood cancer – 1/2 of all chemotherapies used for children’s cancers are over 25 years old
Research and development for new drugs from pharmaceutical companies comprises 60% of funding for adult cancer drugs and close to zero for childhood cancers. However, the NCI spends 96% of its budget on adult cancers and only 4% of its budget on children’s cancers. And that is 4% for all 16 types of pediatric cancer.
Researchers estimate that 51% of moms and 40% of dads who have a child with cancer meet the criteria for “Acute Stress Disorder” within two weeks of the cancer diagnoses.
How You Can Help
Because September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month; I wanted to share Replace the Lace with you again this year.
The founder of Compass to Care had childhood cancer that resulted in her and her parents having to travel over 200 miles to a hospital for her receive care.
This is not unusual. It is actually quite common and places a great burden on the families. Not every hospital in America is equipped to treat children with cancer. In fact, 40% of children diagnosed with cancer do not have an oncologist within 60 miles of them.
Compass to Care plans the travel, and cover the costs that come with it, for families during their child’s cancer treatment. By taking the travel burdens off a family, they can focus on what’s most important, their child.
Replace the Lace is a chance to show your support for kids with cancer by changing your shoelaces to our custom gold laces.
Buy a pair for yourself and encourage your school, team, family, and friends to do the same! The donations you collect may be small individually, but together, they add up. Every dollar helps cover the costs our families face when traveling to and from their child’s cancer treatment.
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