You may have noticed people wearing gold ribbons over the last few weeks, either in person or in virtual form on their social media profiles. The gold ribbon is the symbol of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, an initiative that aims to support the children and families affected by cancer, and raise funds for the ongoing research into defeating it.
Mortality is reducing
Cancer affects roughly one in 500 children before the age of 14 years. The mortality rate for childhood cancers has reduced by 66% since the 1970s, and more children are surviving now than ever before. But the incidence of cancer in children has risen by 30% over the last 16 years and the reason for this trend is not fully understood. It may be partly because of improvements in how cancer is diagnosed and recorded, but this alone is not enough to explain a change of this size. Lifestyle and environmental factors must be considered as possible contributors.
The cancers that affect children tend to be different from the ones that affect adults. Leukaemia is the most common cancer in childhood, accounting for almost a third of cases—but only around 2.5% of those in adults. Children are also much more frequently affected by brain and central nervous system tumours than adults, but extremely rarely by certain common adult cancers, such as bowel.
Treatments, as with adult cancers, include surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. All of these have unpleasant and distressing side effects with wide-reaching impacts on the patients and their families.
While most are fortunate enough not to have to experience the effects of cancer first-hand, you may know a family that does. It can be difficult to know how best to help at this time. This blog post—Cancer diagnosis – five ways you can help a friend—explains what it feels like to receive the bad news and gives some excellent suggestions for ways you can look after a friend and let them concentrate on their child.
Support is needed
There are also many charities, such as Children with Cancer UK and Macmillan, which support families in a number of ways, offering financial assistance, providing accommodation for parents while their child is in hospital, and organising fun days out for the children.
This work can only continue with the help of donations, and it is by supporting these charities that we can all contribute to the fight to end childhood cancer. There are lots of ways to get involved. You can buy a gold ribbon or add the Twibbon to your Facebook or Twitter photo, and there are lots of ways that you can raise funds to keep the care and research going.
We believe in doing our bit
As a patient-centric business, Cuttsy+Cuttsy believes in helping good causes and giving back to the community, which is why alongside our paid work we also undertake pro-bono initiatives to help charities increase awareness and raise funds. In addition, we actively promote awareness of healthcare campaigns through our social media channels. We believe that by raising awareness and providing support everyone can make a difference to patients and their families, and we are proud to do our bit.