September is International Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
Cancer Council is combatting kid’s cancers in many ways; researching cancers that impact children, such as leukaemia, brain tumours, lymphoma and many others. Data is the key to research, and that’s why Cancer Council Queensland also independently funds and manages the Australian Paediatric Cancer Registry, one of the few national registers of childhood cancer in the world. The registry records clinical and treatment information on all children diagnosed with cancer in Australia.
A critical aspect of our work in children’s cancers is to provide information and support to children and their families. As well as our range of cancer publications, we provide confidential phone information and support via Cancer Council Helpline 13 11 20. Through our national network, we also offer an online forum and resources, giving families the opportunity to share their stories.
To assist GPs and health professionals, Cancer Council has launched a ‘red flags’ guide, alerting health professionals to the warning signs of cancer in children.
Families can also download a free booklet on talking to kids about cancer via our website. It is common for children to feel confused and frightened by cancer, but there are many ways we can help children to cope. These include reassuring children that childhood cancers are not lifestyle-related, and that children don’t get cancer because of naughty behaviour or a minor accident like a bump on the head. There’s nothing anyone did to cause their cancer.
The challenge of childhood cancers is enormous, yet we are making progress. The five-year survival rate for childhood cancers in Australia has improved since the 1980s from 68% to 81%.
We must continue to fight against cancer until all children survive.
Hug your kids just that little bit tighter tonight.
More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available via Cancer Council Helpline 13 11 20 or cancerqld.org.au.