September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and doctors say the importance of the month is vital for awareness and fundraising.
“One thing that people don’t realize is that childhood cancer is so rare, and it only receives 4% of funding for cancer research,” said Dr. Violet Borowicz, a pediatric oncologist at Carilion Hospital.
The rarity of childhood cancer means less funding which, in turn, means less resources for parents and children in need.
“The other 96% raised goes to adult cancer research. It’s not as frequent or as common in kids so the research isn’t given to the kids. The reason that September is childhood cancer awareness month is because there are kids that are out there that need that help and we want to continue that awareness and get funding and support.”
Nationally, doctors see around 15,000 cases of childhood cancer a year, and about 20-30 cases in the Roanoke area annually.
Borowicz says the most common type of cancer among children is leukemia, which accounts for 30% of all cases.
“Childhood cancer is very rare. It all depends on what kind of cancer they are. For example, for leukemia, kids will present with bone pain, fever, fatigue, bruising, bleeding. Whereas brain tumors they may be presented with headaches, early morning vomiting, development delay, irritability, depending on their age.”
Every child’s journey is different, and doctors say children can be in the hospital for weeks to years at a time.
Doctors encourage you to support your local children’s hospital to learn more about opportunities for fundraising and local support.
Carilion Hospital is a part of the Children’s Oncology Group, a national organization that helps with child cancer research.