What can you do?
Know the truth. Take action.
Truth: Childhood cancer is not contagious. There is absolutely no way your healthy child can “catch” cancer from another child.
Action: Be open and play with, hug and share ice cream with a child with cancer.
Truth: When a child has cancer, it affects the entire family.
Action: When giving or donating a gift to child with cancer, make sure you send gifts to siblings as well. Prepare a meal, go to the grocery store or offer to pick up siblings from school while parents spend time in the hospital with the child with cancer.
Truth: Cancer is very hard to detect in children, but some of the symptoms can be described using an acronym provided by the Pediatric Oncology Research Center:
Continued, unexplained weight loss
Headaches, often with early morning vomiting
Increased swelling or persistent pain in the bones, joints, back, or legs
Lump or mass, especially in the abdomen, neck, chest, pelvis, or armpits
Development of excessive bruising, bleeding, or rash
Constant, frequent, or persistent infections
A whitish color behind the pupil
Nausea that persists or vomiting without nausea
Constant tiredness or noticeable paleness
Eye or vision changes that occur suddenly and persist
Recurring or persistent fevers of unknown origin
Action: Check for signs and don’t be afraid to ask your pediatrician.
Truth: Childhood cancer comes in many forms, some highly curable, some fatal at diagnosis. Treatment for “curable” cancers can last for 3 years or more.
- Brain and other central nervous system tumors
- Wilms tumor
- Lymphoma (including both Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin)
- Bone cancer (including osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma)
Action: Don’t assume that all childhood cancers are the same. Learn the truth and share it.
Truth: Approximately 4% percent of the National Cancer Institute’s annual budget is dedicated to childhood cancer, and pediatric cancer research lags far behind adult cancer research.
Action: Join the #morethan4 campaign. Get involved. Write letters. Speak for those too small to advocate for themselves.