Thursday, 5 February 2015

Cancer Research UK Kids and Teens Campaign

For those that don't know I'll explain why this campaign is so important to me. I've lost six relatives to cancer so far in my life. Sadly my cousin Georgie was one of them. He lost his mum when he was a baby and was then diagnosed with a very rare cancer himself on his second birthday. He was very very brave and he survived that first diagnosis. He grew into the most lovable, smiliest, most fun child in the world. He gave us all so much happiness. He was then diagnosed with osteosarcoma as a teenager and he once again showed bravery way beyond his years. Our hearts broke when he succumbed to his illness on April 25th 2011 aged just seventeen. Our hearts are still broken to this day as we still try to navigate life without his beautiful heart, his sense of fun, his love and his amazing nature. I will never ever recover from his death, there is a hole in my heart that will never heal. There is no way to describe watching someone you have loved from the moment they were born suffer in such a horrific way. The fact that he died on my birthday is just horrific - imagine the feeling of growing another year older on the same date someone you treated as a brother stopped living. The voluntary work is to ensure no one else has to lose someone the way we had to lose him.

Every day around 10 young people in the UK are diagnosed with cancer.  Despite being rare compared to cancer in adults, cancer is still the leading cause of death by disease in children, teens and young adults under the age of 24, and it has a devastating impact on youngsters and their families. Cancer Research UK have launched a new campaign to raise more money to research the cancers found in children, teenagers and young adults.

The cancers seen in children are usually very different to those seen in adults and “childhood” refers to any child aged between birth and fourteen years old.

There are twelve main types of childhood cancer:
*Soft Tissue Sarcomas
*Kidney Tumours
*Brain and Central Nervous System (CNS)
*Bone Tumours (Like the one Georgie had)
*Carcinomas and Melanomas
*Gonadal and Germ Cell Tumours
*Liver Tumours
*Sympathetic Nervous System Tumours
*Other and Unspecified Tumours

Childhood cancer is quite rare and makes up 5% of all cancers. Around 1,600 children in the UK are diagnosed with cancer every year, which roughly works out at thirty one children per week. Around one in every five hundred children in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer.

The UK’s childhood cancer rates are amongst the lowest in Europe, with Northen Europe having the highest incidence rate.

Leukeamia is the most common childhood cancer. Two thirds of all childhood cancers are  leukeamia, brain and CNS tumours and lymphomas.

Surviving Childhood Cancer:
More children then ever are surviving cancer. The survival rate has doubled since the 1960’s and at least 5,600 MORE children now survive for more then five years after diagnosis.
Around 33,000 people in the UK have survived a type of childhood cancer and almost three quarters of children with cancer can now be cured of the disease.

For every ten childhood cancer sufferers – eight will now survive for more then five years after their diagnosis:
*Nearly all children diagnosed with retinoblastoma are cured.
*Survival rates for Hepatoblastoma have doubled since the 1960’s.
*Around six out of ten children diagnosed with neuroblastoma are cured.
*Eight out of ten children with kidney cancer survive the disease.
*Rhabdomyosarcoma survival rates have doubled since the 1970’s.

Childhood Cancer Deaths:
Cancer is the UK’s leading cause of death (from disease) in children aged up to fourteen. A fifth of all childhood deaths are down to cancer.
Brain and CNS tumours are the most common fatal type of childhood cancer.
Around two hundred and fifty children die from cancer every year in the UK.
Childhood cancer death rates have halved since the 1960’s.

Causes of Childhood Cancer:
We don’t know much about what causes childhood cancers but there are several things we do know:
*Rare genetic syndromes such as Li-Fraumeni Syndrome (what Georgie had) can greatly increase a child’s risk of developing cancer.
*Children with Down ’s syndrome have a greater risk of developing leukaemia.
*2/5 retinoblastomas are linked to a faulty gene that has been inherited.
*Children that have had radiotherapy or chemotherapy in the past are at greater risk of developing a second cancer (As Georgie did)

If you would like to learn more about this campaign, childhood cancer, or would like to donate to the campaign, please visit

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