Childhood Cancer Awareness:: How You Can Support the Cause

Childhood Cancer Awareness:: How You Can Support the Cause

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is symbolized by a gold ribbon. The color gold represents the preciousness of children. 

What Is Childhood Cancer?

Childhood cancer, also referred to as pediatric cancer, encompasses dozens of diseases. It can refer to any cancer found in children, teens, or young adults. The most common type of cancer that occurs in children is leukemia {a blood cancer}, but cancer can also be found in the lymph nodes, the nervous system, and in muscles/bones/skin. Every day, 43 children in the United States are diagnosed. Despite this terrifying fact, research is still consistently underfunded. 

The causes of childhood cancer are not completely understood, but random cancer causing genetic changes {mutations} that occur by chance are thought to contribute to its occurrence. Research on what causes genetic mutations can help scientists develop better treatment plans in the future. It’s important to know that childhood cancer is not contagious and cannot be passed from person to person. 

What Can Lower Your Child’s Cancer Risk?

We don’t know what specifically causes childhood cancer, but that doesn’t mean we have to just sit on the sidelines. Here’s what you can do for your children beginning in childhood::

  1. Consider the HPV vaccination for your preteens. This vaccination can protect against the types of HPV that most commonly cause cancer. 
  2. Don’t expose your kids to second hand smoke and talk to your kids about the correlation between smoking/e-cigarettes/vaping and cancer. 
  3. Practice sun safety {limit exposure} and use sunscreen daily {with an SPF of at least 30}. 
  4. Help your children maintain a healthy weight in childhood by encouraging physical activity. Obesity in adulthood is associated with a higher risk of cancer. 
  5. Avoid alcohol and tobacco use during pregnancy and make sure to get enough folic acid {check with your obstetrician for guidelines}. 

How to Get Involved

  1. Shop The Children’s Art Project for all your gift-giving needs. This merchandise is inspired by the artwork of Children’s Cancer Hospital patients at MD Anderson Cancer Center and net proceeds support programs for kids with cancer!
  2. The St. Jude Trike-A-Thon is a service learning program that teaches trike safety while raising funds for the patients of St. Jude. 
  3. Join The Million Mile and run, walk or ride to raise awareness and funds to help kids fighting cancer. 
  4. Update your profile picture on social media with a gold filter during the month of September to raise awareness. 
  5. Consider shaving your head to show solidarity with kids that you know that are undergoing chemo; this will show them that they aren’t alone. 
  6. Donate your time. COVID has changed the way we can volunteer currently, but once the pandemic is over, you can use VolunteerMatch to find a place to serve. Locals in Houston, volunteers are often called the heart of MD Anderson Cancer Center and play an important role in making cancer history. Click here for more info. 
  7. Start a fundraiser for childhood cancer research or donate to a nonprofit. 
  8. If you’re a cancer survivor, share your story and inspire others to raise their voices, too. 

Resources

  1. Cure Childhood Cancer
  2. American Childhood Cancer Organization 
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  4. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital 
  5. Alex’s Lemonade Stand- Foundation For Childhood Cancer

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