Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. The annual campaign intends to bring awareness to childhood cancer and raise money to fund research, treatments, and support for families. Although cancer in children is rare, the American Cancer Society estimates that about 10,470 children under the age of 15 in the United States alone will be diagnosed with cancer this year.
The Most Common Childhood Cancer
Leukemia is the leading cause of cancer in children, amounting to about 25% of all cancer diagnosed before age 20. Leukemia is a type of cancer of the blood that begins when abnormal cells are formed in the bone marrow and move into the blood system. The most common abnormal cells form in white blood cells.
Types of Leukemia
There are four main types of leukemia that are classified based on the rate of time it takes to progress – acute (quickly) and chronic (slowly).
Acute lymphocytic (lymphoblastic) leukemia (ALL) - is the most common childhood leukemia.
Acute myelogenous (myeloid, myelocytic, non-lymphocytic) leukemia (AML) - is the second most common childhood leukemia.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) - is rare in children, but is one of the most common types of leukemia in adults.
Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) - usually only occurs in adults.
Treatments and Prognosis of Leukemia
The common treatments used in ALL and AML are chemotherapy, radiation, and bone marrow/stem cell transplants. The overall 5-year survival rate for children with leukemia is 85.8%.
How to Help Children with Leukemia
One of the best ways to help children with leukemia is by donating to reputable organizations like the following: