Advances in medical science over the past 100 years have led to a dramatic decrease in child mortality in the United States: clean drinking water and improved sanitation, the introduction of antibiotics, and vaccines for most common childhood diseases has made the death of a child in the United States a rarity—something you may hear about on the news, but not something that could happen to you or someone you love. Yet amidst all the amazing miracles of science that have made the death of a child so exceptional, there is one glaring omission: cancer. Childhood cancer remains the number one disease killer of children in the United States today, and the leading cause of death for children between the ages of 4 and 14 after unintended fatal accidents. Yet despite this sobering fact, childhood cancer remains a silent disease: hidden in the shadows of modern hospitals, left behind by modern miracle cures.
A cancer diagnosis is upsetting at any age, but especially so when the patient is a child. It’s natural to have many questions, such as, Who should treat my child? Will my child get well? What does all of this mean for our family? Not all questions have answers, but the information and resources on this page provide a starting point for understanding the basics of childhood cancer.
In the United States in 2015, an estimated 10,380 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed among children from birth to 14 years, and more than 1,000 children will die from the disease. Although pediatric cancer death rates have declined by nearly 70 percent over the past four decades, cancer remains the leading cause of death from disease among children. The major types of cancers in children ages 0 to14 years are acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), brain and other central nervous system (CNS) tumors, and neuroblastoma, which are expected to account for more than half of new cases in 2015.
Most cancers in children, like those in adults, are thought to develop as a result of mutations in genes that lead to uncontrolled cell growth and eventually cancer. In adults, these gene mutations reflect the cumulative effects of aging and long-term exposure to cancer-causing substances. However, identifying potential environmental causes of childhood cancer has been difficult, partly because cancer in children is rare and partly because it is difficult to determine what children might have been exposed to early in their development. (From www.cancer.gov)
Click on the links below for more information on Childhood Cancer:
www.facebook.com/graceforgrant in Norcross, Georgia
Our local hero in Pensacola, Florida:
The STAR Act
Last month, over 300 childhood cancer advocates hit Capitol Hill for Childhood Cancer Action Days. They asked our legislators to make childhood cancer a national priority and to support the Childhood Cancer Survivorship Treatment Access and Research (STAR) Act, a bill that addresses some of the major issues facing the childhood cancer community.
The STAR Act has three main areas of focus:
- Maximizing childhood cancer survivors’ quality of life
- Moving childhood cancer research forward
- Helping kids get access to life-saving treatments
Kelly Forebaugh, longtime childhood cancer advocate and mom of Honored Kid Jackson, puts it this way:
“The STAR Act captures what’s import to me as the mother of a childhood cancer survivor. I desperately want researchers to have access to critical funding so they can find cures and work toward less toxic treatments. But the issues facing the childhood cancer community are bigger than research alone.
“Children battling cancer need to have access to potentially life-saving drugs coming down through pipeline. The growing number of survivors represent a unique group that will continue to grow as we get better at effectively treating cancer. Many survivors will have special health needs that need to be understood and addressed.
“The STAR Act encapsulates it all — Survivorship, Treatment, Access and Research! I am excited to rally behind this effort and make a difference in the lives of childhood cancer fighters and survivors.”
Here’s where you come in. The bill already has strong support from both Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate. But for any bill to be approved, we need to gather the support of the many, many more Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle.
We need YOU to write your members of Congress and urge them to cosponsor the STAR Act. Please contact your representatives and let them know how much you care about kids with cancer and the STAR Act. (From http://www.stbaldricks.org/blog/post/speak-up-for-kids-cancer-tell-congress-to-support-the-star-act )