September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, a time when we focus on the youngest members of society dealing with a hard-hitting diagnosis.
This month provides an opportunity not just to raise awareness, but also to take action to support these young lives and their families.
The necessity for awareness
Why does childhood cancer need a dedicated month for awareness? The answer is straightforward – cancer in children is different from adult forms of the disease, not just medically, but also psychologically and emotionally.
The long-term impact on their lives makes it crucial to spread awareness, foster research, and support families who are in the midst of this challenging journey.
Though childhood cancer is rare compared to its adult counterpart, its impact is no less devastating.
In the UK, around 1,800 children are diagnosed with cancer each year. Leukaemia and brain tumours are among the most common types.
The survival rate has fortunately improved over the years due to advances in medicine, but there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done.
The struggles beyond medical treatment
Families facing childhood cancer are subjected to emotional and financial turbulence.
Parents often have to take an indefinite leave from work, adding financial strain to their already struggling emotions.
Furthermore, children miss substantial amounts of school, causing academic delays and social isolation.
The ripple effect on siblings and extended family is also important, as they can often feel forgotten about when this situation arises.
The importance of research
Unlike adult cancers, there has been far less focus and funding dedicated to paediatric oncology research.
However, the complexities of childhood cancer necessitate bespoke treatments that are tailored for growing bodies and developing brains.
More funding and focus can help create and enhance therapies that are not only more effective but also bear fewer long-term side effects.
How to get involved
- Donations: Monetary donations are always welcomed by research institutions and charities focused on childhood cancer. You could help raise money by doing things such as bake sales or sponsored walks/ runs.
- Volunteering: Time is just as important as money. Support groups, hospital visits, charity shops, and charity events are always in need of volunteers.
- Social media: Utilise your social platforms to share stories, facts, and ways to help. Spreading awareness online can have a snowball effect and help raise awareness
- Community involvement: Hosting a fundraising event or even just talking about it within your local community can help enormously.
Your involvement, however minor it may seem, contributes to a larger purpose of raising awareness and fighting childhood cancer.
We understand the importance of raising awareness so that every child gets the care that they need.
Find out more about Childhood Cancer Awareness Month here.