September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. The aim is to raise awareness of cancers affecting young people and recognise the work done by scientists and medical staff around the world to help young people survive cancer and enjoy life.
Cancer in Young People
Every year there are around 1900 new cases of cancer in the UK in children aged 14 and under. That is less than 1% of all new cancer cases in the UK. Children tend to be affected by different cancers compared to adults. The most common cancers affecting young people in UK are leukaemia, lymphoma, and cancers that affect the spine and brain.
There are a variety of cancer treatments on offer through the medical profession within the UK. Cancers are usually treated with drugs such as chemotherapy, but can sometimes require operations too. In some cases doctors also utilise other treatments such as radiotherapy or immunotherapy. Many of the treatments can be very hard on the patient and their families, which is particularly onerous for young patients. Long stays in hospital away from family and friends, and side effects from the treatments are two of the difficulties faced. The side effects can even be long term and life altering. Scientists are researching and developing new treatments to increase survival rates and reduce side effects.
Over many years scientists and medical practitioners have greatly improved treatments and the potential to be cured from cancer. In the 1960s in the UK 3 in 10 young people diagnosed with cancer were cured. Thankfully, down to years of hard work, that figure is now around 8 in 10. The research that leads to that progress is often funded by charities such as Cancer Research UK. Despite the progress made over the years, there is still a way to go to make sure all are cured with zero side effects. This will only happen with further research in to new treatments.
If you would like to find out more about Cancer Research please visit our Cancer Research page.