September 2019 is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. The aim of the month is to illustrate the effect of cancer on children, young people and their family.
It is estimated that in the UK at least 12 children and young people receive a cancer diagnosis each day. Heartbreakingly, approximately 250 children aged between 0 – 14 years lose their lives every year.
The charity Children with Cancer UK aims to improve the life of young cancer patients, bring hope to their families and aims to find ways to prevent cancer in the future by funding ground breaking research. They are currently funding more than 60 research projects helping us to understand the diseases and examining treatment methods.
Children with Cancer UK was founded by Eddie and Marion O’Gorman in memory of their two children, Paul and Jean, who tragically died of cancer within 9 months of each other. Their son Paul asked them to help other children with leukaemia shortly before he died aged just 14 years. He had received his initial cancer diagnosis just 9 weeks before he passed. Within weeks, Eddie and Marion started fundraising and since 1998 the charity has raised over £220 million to help the fight against childhood cancer.
Childhood cancers differ from the cancers that effect young adults which in turn are very different to those which affect adults aged 25 and over.
Childhood cancers can include:
- Brain and Spinal Tumours
- Cancer of the Liver and Liver Tumours
- Hodgkin Lymphoma
- Non – Hodgkin Lymphoma
Brain and Spinal Tumours
Each year there are approximately 400 new cases of cancer of the brain or spine including medulloblastoma and ependymomas. Brain and Spinal Tumours are the most common solid tumour to be found in children.
Symptoms vary according to the type and site of the tumour and many symptoms are caused by a rise in pressure to the brain and can present as headaches, vomiting, visual symptoms and drowsiness.
Osteosarcoma is the most common type of childhood bone cancer. It can start in any bone, but it is more commonly found in limbs.
Symptoms often include bone pain, redness and swelling and great advances have been made in the treatment of Osteosarcoma since 1960. In 2019 alone, Children with Cancer UK will be committing £500,000 to osteosarcoma research.
More information on Childhood Cancer Awareness Month can be found at www.childrenwithcancer.org.uk