This year, more than 25,000 parents will hear these words: "Your child has cancer." Unfortunately, pediatric cancers are far more common than you might think. Here are some of the facts:
- One in every 330 children will develop cancer before the age of 19.
- One in every five children diagnosed with cancer dies.
- Cancer is the most common cause of death by disease for children and adolescents in America.
Of those who do survive cancer treatment, it does come with a "cost." Two-thirds of those who do survive face at least one chronic health condition. One-quarter of survivors face a late effect from treatment that is classified as severe or life-threatening. Late effects of treatment can include heart damage, secondary cancers, lung damage, infertility, cognitive impairment, growth deficits, hearing loss, and more. It is becoming increasingly apparent that childhood cancer is "for life." Late effects result from either the disease process or aggressive treatment regimens that are given at a time of life when children have growing bodies and developing brains. As such, patterns of late effects include disabilities, chronic health conditions, and even subsequent battles with additional cancer. It is imperative that all survivors of childhood cancer receive ongoing monitoring and continued physical and psychosocial care throughout their adult lives.
Yet, despite all of the statistics, why does The National Cancer Institute's federal budget of nearly $5.3 billion give less than 3 percent to research into the 12 major pediatric cancers?
Our goal at Cookies For a Cure is to raise funds for hospitals and organizations that conduct research into finding a cure for children's cancer. They certainly need all the help they can get. And with our Community Leaders Program, we hope to increase the awareness of the incidence and devastation of this disease on America's children. By raising awareness of the fact that childhood cancer remains the number-one disease killer of America's children, we can press the need for greater research funding.
Statistics on child and adolescent cancer incidence are collected by the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) SEER Program (Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results). The data is collected at 10 sites (5 states including
Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, New Mexico and Utah and 5 cities including Detroit, Atlanta, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle), with each representing different geographic regions of the United States. The data is then extrapolated to represent national childhood cancer data.