15 February is International Childhood Cancer Day!
International Childhood Cancer Day (ICCD) is celebrated around the world each year on February 15. ICCD is a global collaborative campaign
created to raise awareness about childhood cancer, and to express support for children and adolescents with cancer, the survivors and their families.
The day promotes increased appreciation and deeper understanding of issues and challenges relevant to childhood cancer and impacting on children/adolescents with cancer, the survivors, their families and the society as a whole.
It also spotlights the need for more equitable and better access to treatment and care for all children with cancer, everywhere.
ICCD was founded by Childhood Cancer International (CCI), a global network of 188-member organizations in 96 countries – including South Africa. ICCD was first launched in 2002. Since then has generated the support of global networks and leading institutions such as: the World Health Organization, SIOP (International Society of Pediatric Oncology),St. Jude
Sadly according to CCI childhood cancer continues to be the leading cause of non-communicable related death in children throughout the world. Globally, more than 300,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year with about 1000 new cases in our country alone.
Many childhood cancers have a higher survival rate when diagnosed early. Unfortunately, childhood cancers are sometimes overlooked or misdiagnosed because early symptoms are mistakenly attributed to more common injuries or illnesses due to lack of knowledge. To familiarise yourself with the early warning signs of childhood cancer.
Most common childhood cancers
Research from the US National Library of Medicine shows that ommon cancers in children are different from those found in adults, most often occurring in the developing cells like bone marrow, blood, kidneys and nervous system tissues. Life- threatening blood disorders include haemophilia aplastic anaemia, thalassaemia and idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura. Despite being relatively rare, in Western countries childhood cancer is the second most common cause of death in children aged 5 to 14 years, after accidents, whilst in Africa it does not make it into the top 10 common causes.
According to the most recent South African Children’s Cancer Study Group (SACCSG) registry statistics, for 2009 to 2013, the five most common childhood cancers in South Africa are leukaemia, followed by lymphoma (tumours that begin in the lymph glands), then brain tumours, nephroblastomas, or Wilms tumours – cancer of the kidneys – and then soft tissue sarcomas, which are tumours that beginin the connective tissue.
Leukaemia comprises 25.4% of all cancers, which is similar to rates in other countries. However, in developed countries brain tumours make up another 25% whilst in South Africa they only make up 13.4%. This discrepancy is thought to be due to under diagnosis, especially in rural and smaller hospitals.
The power of creating a better future for children/adolescents with cancer lies in us and in what we do at present.
15 February, as we celebrate ICCD we urge you to wear blue along with the ICCD badge or heart pin to honor the extraordinary courage and strength of children with cancer, who at a very young age, have to go through a long, arduous and painful treatment.
Let us recognise and support incredible determination and tenacity of their parents and families, who do everything humanly possible to save the lives of their children.
visit www.choc.org.za for a list of items on sale for ICCD 2017