Fast Facts: September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
In 2012, former President Barack Obama declared September Childhood Cancer Awareness Month to bring attention and awareness to pediatric cancer. Childhood cancer is the leading cause of death for those aged 14 and younger. According to St. Jude, 43 children in the United States are diagnosed with a form of cancer every day. When looking at it worldwide, it is estimated that 400,000 children are diagnosed with some type of pediatric cancer each year. In the U.S. alone, there are 480,000 childhood cancer survivors.
The WHA Information Center analyzed inpatient and outpatient hospital data from 2017-2021. Brain and spinal cord tumors hold the highest visit counts for patients aged 0-19 years old. The next highest visit counts were for lymphoma. In terms of gender, boys had a higher visit count (58% of total visits) than girls. The ZIP codes with the highest visit counts for childhood cancer are in Dane and Brown County. Visits for childhood cancer have gone down when looking at counts by year and quarter from 2017 to 2021.
While adult cancer can often be caused by lifestyle or the patient’s environment, childhood cancer is mainly due to a genetic mutation thought to occur by chance. Having a month dedicated to bringing awareness to childhood cancer is important because many parents do not know the different types of cancer found in children. According to the Children’s Cancer Research Fund, there are currently over 100 subtypes of childhood cancer and only six drugs made specifically for treating childhood cancer.
Childhood Cancer Awareness Month also highlights the need for funds to continue researching cures, as 20% of children with cancer in the U.S. will not survive it. The World Health Organization states that the likelihood of surviving a diagnosis depends on the income of countries. High-income countries have an 80% survival rate whereas low-income countries have a less than 30% survival rate.
There are several ways you can get involved and raise awareness this September:
- Host an awareness event or join in an awareness event.
- Advocate at the local, state, or national level.
- Join a walk/run that donates and raises funds for childhood cancer reseasrch.
- Buy gear from childhood cancer organizations and go gold during September.
- Sponsor a child with cancer.