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National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month Starts in September

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Last year, as President Obama officially kicked off September's National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, he wrote, “we remember the young lives taken too soon … and rededicate ourselves to combating this terrible illness.” 

 

Nationwide events will take place this September to commemorate children who lost their lives to childhood cancer, as well as raise awareness and funding towards the disease and its research. Events include a golf tournament, 5K runs, speaking campaigns, and other benefits. Below, is a list of a handful of major events:

 

  • The Never Ever Give Up (NEGU) Foundation will host a golf tournament on September 30, south of Los Angeles.

 

  • The national Million Mile Run by the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation--featured in the Huffington Post, throughout September. Participants will join or start a team to walk or run at events throughout the country. Their goal is to log 1 million miles run by members on one month, to promote awareness and further funds.

 

 

  • Hyundai’s Hope on Wheels will hold Run 4 Hope 5K’s in various U.S. cities, including Chicago, Boston and Washington DC from the end of August to October. Register or find a run near you on their website. They also have a social media campaign called Give Hope a Hand. You can participate by uploading a picture of your hand with #GiveHopeAHand on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. You can also download their PDF notecard and write a message to support kids fighting cancer. Then, post a picture of the notecard on social media sites with #GiveHopeAHand. Download the card here.

 

Click on each link about to find out more ways to help, donate, or to register for an event.

 

 

About Childhood Cancer

Though the 5-year survival rate has risen from 60 percent to 80 percent from the 1970’s, childhood cancer rates have been increasing the last few decades.  It is the second leading cause of death in youth 15 years old and under, after accidents. 

 

The most common childhood cancers are cancer of the bone and blood (leukemia), which account for 34 percent of cancer in children, brain and nervous system tumors, and neuroblastoma, a cancer that forms in the nerve cells of embryos and fetuses. The first two account for more than half of pediatric cancers.

 

Childhood cancer differs from adults in that it can happen without warning, shows little to no signs of early symptoms, and has a high rate of cures, according to the American Cancer Society and Medline Plus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

 

A 2013 article by the American Cancer Society suggests that DNA mutations inherited from parents are largely to blame for pediatric cancer. However, causes for most DNA changes that lead to childhood cancer are largely unknown.

 

It also explains that lifestyle factors take too long to influence a risk of cancer in children. On the other hand, a lack of exercise, unhealthy diet, and smoking, can be influential in adults developing cancer. 

 

In an earlier online article by the National Cancer Institute, a small percentage had been attributed to radiation exposure and chromosomal and genetic abnormalities, such as Down syndrome. 

 

However, scientists suspected, and had been investigating, a link between environmental factors and pediatric cancer. Outside influences include pesticides, household chemicals, and medications such as fertility drugs. Other risk factors include parental medical conditions prior to and during pregnancy, and exposure to the HIV virus.