On Aug. 31, 2012, President Barack Obama proclaimed the month of September as National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. September – or any month of the year – is also a great time for all of us to promote awareness and gather support for children who are afflicted with cancer and their families.
Chiropractors can also play a vital role in the fight against childhood cancer, both as health professionals, healthcare educators, community leaders or just concerned private citizens and mothers and fathers.
Cancer causes stress on the musculoskeletal system, with many patients experiencing peripheral neuropathy, aches and pains in the neck and back, muscle tension, headaches, or difficulty walking. As they try to eradicate cancer from the patient’s body, even surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy can cause pain and stiffness in joints and muscles, as well as other discomfort and susceptibility to other illnesses.
For patients looking for an integrated approach to treatment, chiropractic care can help reduce stress on the body and increase mobility, flexibility, strength and function, improving overall wellbeing, maximizing the body’s ability to heal itself and fend off disease.
Hopefully, one day in our lifetime we’ll be able to cancel National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month!
Here are some important facts about childhood cancer:
-About 43 children are diagnosed with cancer every day.
-Each year, about 40,000 children undergo treatment for cancer.
-Cancer remains the number one cause of death by disease among children.
-But the good news is that increased awareness, support, medial technology, and advances in science have brought the survival rate from a mere 10 percent only 50 years ago to nearly 90 percent today.
-Despite these encouraging numbers, the number of children diagnosed with cancer every year has not declined over the last 20 years.
-The average age of a child diagnosed with cancer is only 6 years old.
-That means there are approximately 375,000 adult survivors of children’s cancer in the U.S., or 1 in 530 adults who are between the ages of 20 and 39.
-So what are the main forms of childhood cancer?
Children generally suffer from very different types of cancer than adults, though there is some overlap.
Here are the main types of childhood cancers:
30% Leukemia. Cancers of the bone marrow and blood make up 30% of all childhood cancer diagnosis.
26% Brain and other central nervous system tumors.
6% Neuroblastoma. This violent form of cancer attacks early, with the development of nerve cells in the embryo or fetus.
5% Wilms Tumor. Developing in the kidneys, Wilms Tumor accounts for about 1 out of every 20 cancers in children, yet is still not widely known.
3% and 5% Lymphomas. The 2 main types of lymphoma are Hodgkin lymphoma (3%), which is sometimes called Hodgkin disease, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (5%). Both types can occur in children and adults.
3% Rhadbdomyosarcoma. The most common type of soft tissue sarcoma in children.
3% Bone cancers. Primary bone cancers actually develop in the bone, as apposed to metastatic bone cancer, which actually starts somewhere else and spreads to the bones. The two main types of primary bone cancers that occur in children are Osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma.
2% Retinoblastoma. Unlikely to be found in a child older than 6 years old, this cancer of the eye accounts usually occurring in children around the age of 2.
Raising awareness and funds:
Many amazing organizations and charities are doing some great work to help the battle against childhood cancer. Here are just a few of our favorite charities that work tirelessly to eradicate cancer in children:
American Childhood Cancer Foundation
National Children's Cancer Society
The Make-A-Wish Foundation