At the Sept. 10 Blythe City Council’s special meeting, the City of Blythe declared the month of September 2019 as “Childhood Cancer Awareness Month” via official proclamation.
“Each year in the U.S. there are an estimated 15,780 children between the ages of birth and 19 years of age who are diagnosed with cancer. Approximately 1 in 285 children in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cancer before their 20th birthday. Globally there are more than 300,000 children diagnosed with cancer each year. Every three minutes, somewhere in the world a family hears the devastating words that their child has been diagnosed with cancer. While survival rates for many types of childhood cancer have improved, for too many children, cancer will shorten their lives too soon. Cancer remains the most common cause of death by disease for children in America,” states the American Childhood Cancer Organization (ACCO) non-profit.
In 1990, former President George H.W. Bush proclaimed October to be National Awareness Month for Children with Cancer. In 2012 – and again in the years 2015 and 2016 – former President Barrack Obama, via presidential proclamations, declared September to be National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
Issued on Aug. 30, President Donald Trump also issued the presidential proclamation for 2019.
“Today, the overall 5 year survival rate for childhood cancer is close to 80%. Because treatment cure rates have increased, the population of childhood cancer survivors has also increased. Currently there are estimated to be 270,000 survivors of childhood cancer in the U.S. This equates to one in 640 young adults between the ages of 20 to 39 being a survivor of a childhood malignancy,” states the ACCO, whose advocacy began in the 1970s as the Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation. “Survival, however, is with a ‘cost.’ Two-thirds of those who do survive face at least one chronic health condition. One quarter of survivors face a late-effect from treatment that is classified as severe or life-threatening. Late-effects of treatment can include heart damage, second cancers, lung damage, infertility, cognitive impairment, growth deficits, hearing loss, and more. It is becoming increasingly apparent that childhood cancer ‘is for life.’ Late effects from either the disease process or aggressive treatment regimens are given at a time of life when children have growing bodies and developing brains. As such, patterns of late-effects include disabilities, chronic health conditions, and even subsequent battles with additional cancer. It is imperative that all survivors of childhood cancer receive on-going monitoring and continued physical and psychosocial care throughout their adult lives.”
Nationally, gold ribbons during September are symbols in support of childhood cancer awareness.
(Editor’s Note: With the theme of “Hope Rises” for 2019, the Blythe Cancer Resource Center’s [BCRC] “Steps for the Cure” annual hometown event is currently scheduled for Nov. 2, from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., at Palo Verde High School’s Scott Stadium, 667 N. Lovekin Blvd.)