This year, approximately 13,500 children in the United States and 150 in Alabama will be diagnosed with cancer. Many people, however, do not have a basic awareness about childhood cancer, know that children tend to develop different types of cancer than adults, nor ways they can get involved to help support those fighting this disease.
Unfortunately, many of the causes and risk factors of childhood cancer are unknown. Unlike adults, children do not have lifestyle risk factors such as tobacco exposure, poor nutritional habits or other modifiable risk factors that might cause cancer. Children can suffer from numerous types of cancer, including:
* Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
* Bone cancer
* Brain and spinal cord cancer
* Ewing’s Sarcoma
* Hodgkins Lymphoma
* Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma
* Osteosarcoma (bone cancer)
* Retinoblastoma (cancer of the eye)
* Rhabdomyosarcoma (muscle cancer)
* Wilms Tumor (kidney cancer)
“All children with cancer seek hope,” said Dr. Raymond G. Watts, Director, UAB Division of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology and the Hugh J. Morgan Endowed Chair for Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Professor of Pediatrics at Children’s of Alabama. “The Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders offers that hope to patients with recurrent and otherwise difficult-to-treat tumors through cutting-edge therapies and research. Success has created new challenges and needs and our goal is a total cure for all children.”
Children’s of Alabama invites Alabamians of all ages to “Commit to a Cure” by recognizing September as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Here are some ways individuals and groups can help fight pediatric cancer:
* Visit www.childrensal.org/committedtoacure for the latest news and information about events throughout Alabama to get involved in the fight against pediatric cancer.
* Choose the “Curing Childhood Cancer” tag when purchasing or renewing an Alabama license plate. These tags are available at all Alabama Motor Vehicle offices. Since its introduction, the Curing Childhood Cancer tag has raised more than $2 million dollars to fight childhood cancer.
* Participate in Buy Alabama’s Best at a local supermarket by purchasing certain Alabama food items or a Buy Alabama’s Best paper icon to support Children’s of Alabama. A complete list of Buy Alabama’s Best products and participating supermarkets is available atwww.buyalabamasbest.com.
* Attend the Third-Annual Advancement in the Care of Pediatric Cancer & Blood Disorders Symposium October 11-12 at Children’s Bradley Lecture Center. Visit www.childrensal.org or call 205-638-5443 to register.
* Read or share stories about overcoming childhood cancer atwww.childofchildrens.com.
* Visit Express Oil Change during the month of September when $1 from every oil change or service will support pediatric cancer patients at Children’s of Alabama.
*Tweet for Children’s in Hyundai’s Tweet 4 Hope campaign. Participants will vote with their posts on which participating hospital/foundation they’d like to give their vote to by using the hashtag #Tweet4Hope. The top eligible 14 hospitals/foundations with the most votes will receive an additional $5,000 grant to use directly for childhood cancer programs.
* Register to become a bone marrow donor at www.marrow.org. More than 30 children at Children’s require bone marrow transplants each year. Marrow donor registration is fast, and involves only paperwork and taking a painless cheek swab. The information is then entered into the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) database and, should the donor be a match, he or she will be contacted about donating.
* Send a direct donation to the hospital by making a check out to Children’s of Alabama, and mailing to: Children’s of Alabama Foundation, Attn: Committed to Curing Childhood Cancer Campaign, 1600 7th Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35233. Gifts donated to childhood cancer research at Children’s of Alabama stay in Alabama. Many national fundraisers target Alabama for donations, but the funds do not directly benefit children in this state.
Children’s of Alabama has provided specialized medical care for ill and injured children since 1911, offering inpatient and outpatient services throughout central and north Alabama. Last year, families made more than 634,000 outpatient and nearly 14,000 inpatient visits to Children’s from every county in Alabama and from 47 other states. With more than 2 million square feet, Children’s is the third largest pediatric medical facility in the U.S. and has been ranked among the top children’s hospital programs in the country for the past three years by US News & World Report. More information is available at www.childrensal.org.
The UAB Division of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology is a component of the UAB Department of Pediatrics, and the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center. The Division’s programs are housed in The Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s of Alabama. The Division is a Blue Cross/Blue Shield Center of Excellence at Children’s of Alabama and the state’s only comprehensive pediatric center, treating 90 percent of all pediatric cancer and other blood disorders patients diagnosed in Alabama.
Children’s is an active member institution of Children’s Oncology Group (COG) an international 200 member collaborative academic research group focused on clinical trials in childhood cancer. The Division has been awarded membership in the COG Phase I Consortium. This prestigious designation is important as the Children’s of Alabama is now one of only 21 COG Phase I Consortium Sites in the North America and allows us to provide novel therapies for children with cancer. The Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders is the single largest provider of specialized pediatric services in Alabama for all forms of:
* Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors
* Sickle Cell Diseases
* Hemophilia and other bleeding disorders