Childhood Cancer Awareness Month (CCAM) is recognized every September by childhood cancer organizations around the world.
A cancer diagnosis can be life changing at any age but is particularly so when it happens to a child. Although cancer is uncommon in children, with 99% of cancers developing in adults, there is much research going on to better understand and develop new treatments for pediatric cancers.
As a result of improvements in treatment options, the overall outlook for children and adolescents with cancer has improved greatly over the last half-century, with an overall survival rate now at over 80%.
The most common types of cancer in children 0 to 14 years old are leukemias, brain and other central nervous system tumors, and lymphomas. Because childhood cancers are often treated differently than adult cancers, pediatric oncology is a medical specialty focused solely on the care of children with cancer. It's important to know that this expertise exists and that there are effective treatments for many childhood cancers.
The types of treatment that a child with cancer receives will depend on the kind of cancer and how advanced it is. Common treatments include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and stem cell transplant. Clinical trials of new therapies promise more innovative treatments for childhood cancers in the years ahead.
Here are some helpful resources to learn more about childhood cancers, treatment options, and support resources for families affected by childhood cancer:
NIH: National Cancer Institute