September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month. Here are some facts from Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. For more information, go to www.alexslemonade.org.
Fact #1: Cancer is the leading cause of disease-related deaths in children under the age of 20.
Every year, about 12,400 children and teens under the age of 20 are diagnosed with cancer.
Approximately 2,300 children die every year from childhood cancer.
On the average, one in every four elementary schools has a child with cancer.
The average high school has two students who are current or former cancer patients.
The causes of most childhood cancers are unknown. At present, childhood cancer cannot be prevented.
Fact #2: Research helps increase chances of survival.
Progress in cancer survival rates among children is the result of successful clinical trials.
More than 70 percent of children with cancer participate in clinical trials. Only three percent of adults (and only 1.5 percent of Medicare patients) with cancer enroll in clinical trials.
Progress in treating childhood cancer has been dramatic in the last three decades largely due to increased funding for research.
Currently the overall cure rate for all childhood cancers is around 80 percent.
If the current rate of progress continues due to improved funding of research, the cure rate for cancers diagnosed prior to age 20 can approach 85 percent.
Fact #3: Childhood cancer research is seriously under-funded.
Only a small fraction of the dollars spent on research in this country is directed to childhood cancer. Each child diagnosed with cancer is getting only one-sixth the federal research support allocated to each patient afflicted with AIDS (when calculated per life year saved).
For every dollar spent on a patient with breast cancer, less than 30 cents is spent on a child with cancer.
What is Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation doing to change this?
Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation is committed to eradicating childhood cancer.
Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation recently distributed grant awards totaling four million dollars over two years to fund 30 childhood cancer research projects.
These projects will help to improve the availability of new clinical trials for children currently undergoing treatments for difficult-to-cure cancers.
Research funds will also be used to develop and test new therapies, to develop more effective and less toxic treatment protocols and to find the causes of childhood cancers.