International Childhood Cancer Day: 15 February
Monday 15 February is International Childhood Cancer Day. International Childhood Cancer Day aims to create awareness that cancer doesn’t discriminate by age.
Every day 700 children and adolescents below the age of 20 are diagnosed with cancer. Of the 250 000 diagnosed with cancer each year, about 90 000 of them will lose their lives to the disease.
What is even more heartbreaking is that many more children and adolescents are robbed of this special time in their lives because they do not have access to decent health services and are therefore either diagnosed late or are not diagnosed at all. Health systems in low and middle-income countries are inadequate or inaccessible and unaffordable; there is inadequate medical infrastructure and equipment; and essential medicines are either not available or too expensive.
The burden of childhood cancer is even felt in developed countries as it is the leading non-communicable disease (NCD) related cause of deaths in high income countries and a growing number of middle income countries.
Although the figures are still bad, it isn’t all doom and gloom; fifty years ago childhood cancer was virtually untreatable, and today almost 80% of children with cancer survive thanks to advances in medical research. Whereas childhood cancer treatment was once a case of doctors trying to kill cancer without killing the child first, today doctors are able to tailor-make treatments to improve effectiveness and cause less harm.
Medical research has advanced our understanding of the genetics of cancer and today we understand that cancers are a result of genetic mutations and childhood cancers are genetically less complex than adult cancers.
What is International Childhood Cancer Day?
International Childhood Cancer Day is a global collaborative campaign to Raise Awareness about Childhood Cancer, and to express support for children and adolescents with cancer, child cancer survivors and their families.
International Childhood Cancer Day promotes increased appreciation and deeper understanding of issues and challenges impacting Children with Cancer and the Survivors of this scourge. It also highlights the need for more equitable and better access to treatment and care for all Children with Cancer across the globe.
Every child and adolescent with cancer deserves access to quality cancer care, wherever they are in the world, and it is up to us to ensure that Childhood Cancer becomes a Global Child Health Priority and that children and adolescents with cancer across the globe receive the treatment and care they need.
Parents of Children with Cancer must have access to the information they require to make informed decisions about their child’s treatment, and families of Children with Cancer must be allowed to be active partners in the whole continuum of care: from diagnosis to follow-up care.
Who is behind International Childhood Cancer Day?
This annual event was created by Childhood Cancer International (formerly the International Confederation of Childhood Cancer Parent Organizations (ICCCPO)), a network of 177 grassroots and national networks of parent organizations in 90 countries and across 5 continents.
International Childhood Cancer Day is based on Childhood Cancer International’s (CCI) core belief that every child with cancer deserves the best possible medical and psychosocial care, regardless of country of origin, race, financial status or social class.
It is also anchored on the premise that childhood cancer deaths are avoidable, with timely and accurate diagnosis , availability and access to proper treatment and care as well as affordable essential medicines.
Why is Support and Solidarity for International Childhood Cancer Day Important?
Children and adolescents are the heart of every community and nation and they are the future! It is our responsibility to ensure that they are able to live life to the fullest and to reach their full potentials. Childhood Cancer robs our children of their childhood and youth; it threatens at puts at risk their very survival.
A cancer diagnosis shatters every sense of “normal life” for children, adolescents and their families. At the age of supposed innocence, enjoyment and pure joy, children with cancer have to face difficult, demanding and very scary situations in which they have to deal with tremendous pain and stress and are often isolated from their friends and peers for long periods of time.
Children who are diagnosed with cancer often feel as though they have done something wrong; that it is their fault that they have cancer, and can become very depressed. The effects of Childhood Cancer on the families, siblings and parents of Children with Cancer is also heart-wrenching and devastating in various ways, including emotional, social, psychological and financial.
It is our belief that no Child with Cancer or family of a Child with Cancer should go through the cancer journey alone.
It is for this reason that International Childhood Cancer Day exists and we encourage you to STAND UP and SPEAK OUT for Children with cancer, the survivors and their families today.
We all need to ACT NOW, because for children with cancer, today is sometimes all that they have!
Posted on 12 February, 2016, in Blog and tagged Child Cancer Awareness, childhood cancer, Childhood Cancer Awareness, Children with Cancer, International Childhood Cancer Day, Little Fighters Cancer Trust. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.