Thursday, September 6, 2012
The Truth about Childhood Cancer
September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and I'd like to share some information about a project about which I have recently learned in regards to childhood cancer.
This project, called The Truth 365, is a ground-breaking, grass-roots documentary film and social media campaign that has set a goal to give a voice to all children fighting cancer and those who care about them. They want to make all of us aware of the things that need to be done in battling pediatric cancer and to spotlight the state of childhood cancer research funding by uniting the childhood cancer community, government officials, top pediatric oncologists, and several of the country's most influential celebrities.
This is an important effort, and here's why: The Truth is that childhood cancer research is vastly underfunded, and the funding that's needed needs to become a priority for all of us, right now, because childhood cancer is the #1 cause of disease-related death in children under the age of 14, killing more than asthma, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, and pediatric AIDS combined. In the United States alone, 13,500 children are diagnosed with cancer every year, which translates to 46 children and their families getting a cancer diagnosis every single day, 365 days a year. And although one out of every five of these children who are diagnosed with cancer will die, those who survive are often left with life-changing side effects from the cancer and the treatment that was used, which is often based on research done on adults with cancer instead of on children. The Truth is that the incidence of invasive pediatric cancers is up 29% in the past 20 years, and yet only $20,000 is invested in cancer research for every $595,000 invested in pediatric AIDS research. Of the National Cancer Institute's budget of $4.6 billion, breast cancer received 12%, prostate cancer received 7%, and all 12 major groups of pediatric cancer combined received less than 4%.
The Truth is that this isn't right - and that it's not acceptable just to look away, as if these statistics don't affect every one of us, because they do. To learn more, check out the Facebook page for this campaign and the group's website to find out what's going on in their efforts, and stay tuned for the launch of their film which is due out on September 13.