Steps toward Reducing Childhood Cancer: Childhood cancer. These two words immediately cause a cringe--especially for parents. It goes without saying that it’s one of the most difficult topics to breach; nobody wants to think about it.
Unfortunately, over 10,000 new cases of childhood cancer will be diagnosed in 2017, and about 1,200 children may die from the disease.
Steps toward Reducing Childhood Cancer - Check Your Child for Symptoms
The earlier symptoms are noticed, the better. Knowing what to look for is imperative. If you notice any of the following symptoms, consult a professional immediately; don’t wait for the yearly appointment:
- New or enlarged masses or lumps
- Unexplained pain
- Loss of energy
- Prolonged illness, fever, or headaches
- Decrease in vision
- Sudden weight loss
- Increased bruising or bleeding
The mortality rate for childhood cancer is at about one-third of what it was in 1969, but the earlier it is discovered and treatment begins, the higher the survival rate. Screenings are one of the most commonly used preventative care measures, but there are many more.
Unfortunately, the science behind many of them is correlative, so it can not be claimed that adhering to the measures will cause a cancer-free life. However, most agree that eating healthy, exercising, using sun protectants, eliminating exposure to smoke, and getting regular medical care is recommended for reducing the risk of cancer.
Cancer is a general term for an array of genetic mutations, so also consider family history when assessing. While inherited genes may only account for 5-10% of cancer overall, it is important to be aware of Family Cancer Syndromes, especially if both the maternal and paternal families have a history of cancer.
In most cases, if one side does not have an important cancer fighting gene, such as the tumor suppressor gene, the other will, but that is not always the case, so know your history, if at all possible. To ease your mind, there are genetic tests available that will point out harmful mutations, but they can not guarantee whether someone will or will not develop cancer.
Furthermore, certain areas tend to have a higher rate of mutagens, so it is always smart to be aware of community factors and changes. The CDC provides maps of Incident Rates by state, which shows higher rates in central and eastern US than elsewhere, but there are also cancer cluster maps readily available elsewhere. This can allow you to pinpoint places that might have negative social or environmental factors at play.
Steps toward Reducing Childhood Cancer - How You Can Help
Continuing the journey to comprehensive knowledge about cancers is also vital for fighting against it. If you want to help, but are overwhelmed by the amount of charities and organizations that there are, research has already been done to find the legitimate ones, such as Daily Parent and the Charity Navigator. St. Jude Children’s Hospital is also always a safe bet and always in need of help. They have one of the most prolific research centers, so you know that your money is going to good use.
If you’d prefer to help wishes come true, you can donate to the Make-A-Wish foundation and help children have amazing experiences, such as becoming Bat Kid, designing a race car, meet an idol, help others, and (of course) go to Disney.
You can also support fundraisers, campaigns, and challenges raising money to donate to the foundation. Make-A-Wish has even helped to save the lives of many animals while fulfilling wishes for animal companions. As far as ways to spend money go, it doesn’t get better than helping children and animals in need.