Every September, the world unites in the gold ribbon movement to raise awareness about childhood cancer. The golden emblem stands as a strong reminder of the youngest members of our society bravely facing one of humanity’s toughest adversaries. As September is recognized as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, it provides an opportunity for individuals and organizations across the globe to stand in solidarity with children affected by cancer, their families, and the professionals dedicated to their care.
Why the Need for Awareness?
Childhood cancer, while relatively rare in comparison to adult cancer, still represents a significant concern. Every year, thousands of children are diagnosed, and the effects ripple across families, communities, and societies at large. By increasing awareness, it becomes possible to bolster support for research, enhance funding for vital treatments, and provide emotional and psychological support to affected families.
Common Forms of Childhood Cancer
While there are numerous types of cancers that can affect children, some are more prevalent than others. Here are the most common forms of childhood cancer:
- Leukaemia: This cancer of the blood and bone marrow accounts for about 30% of all cancers in children. The most common types in children are acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) and acute myeloid leukaemia (AML).
- Brain and Central Nervous System Tumours: These are the second most common cancers in children. Medulloblastomas, gliomas, and brain stem gliomas are among the usual types that affect children.
- Neuroblastoma: Originating in certain nerve cells during fetal development, this cancer usually affects children under the age of 5. It typically starts in the adrenal glands, which sit atop the kidneys.
- Wilms Tumour: This is a kidney cancer that predominantly affects children. It usually arises in children aged 3 to 4 and is rare in older kids or adults.
- Lymphoma: This includes both Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Lymphomas affect the lymphatic system, a vital part of the immune system.
- Rhabdomyosarcoma: This cancer affects the muscles and can start in various places throughout the body.
- Osteosarcoma and Ewing Sarcoma: Both these types are bone cancers. Osteosarcoma is more common in teens and often originates in the bones around the knee. Ewing sarcoma can begin in bones or soft tissues.
The Canadian Contribution
Canada, like many nations, stands committed to the cause. The Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is marked by various events, campaigns, and initiatives throughout the country. Many organizations, hospitals, and support groups work tirelessly to ensure that the best care and resources are available to children and families affected by cancer.
The goal is clear: to find more efficient treatments, to enhance the quality of life for affected children, and ultimately, to find a cure. With continued awareness, research, and support, the hope remains that the youngest among us will have a brighter, cancer-free future.
So, this month, whether you choose to wear gold, donate to a relevant charity, or simply share information about childhood cancer, remember the brave children and families battling this disease and the significance of your contribution. Together, we can make a difference.