Despite several thousand children that are diagnosed with a form of childhood cancer each year, research dedicated to these types of cancers is constantly underfunded. At the national level, adult types of cancer receive the majority of funding for research. The National Institutes of Health dedicates only 4% of its annual cancer research budget to childhood cancers. Unfortunately, this is not enough as funding is vital to developing further research and new treatments as childhood cancer is the number one cause of death in children – related to a disease.
In addition, while The National Comprehensive Cancer Control Program gathers information on a state’s plan of action and resource burdens from each state, called the Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan, childhood cancer is often overlooked and left out, which leads to less funding. However, if there was a specific area in the Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan that is dedicated to types of childhood cancer and their statistics then we believe it will be a step towards raising awareness and fighting childhood cancer on a national scale.
The STAR Act of 2018
Through the continuous efforts of many advocates, there have been several successes in raising awareness and government funding for childhood cancer such as the historic Childhood Cancer STAR Act and other advocacy battles. The STAR Act of 2018 has been considered the most extensive piece of legislation considered by Congress concerning childhood cancer. It not only authorized Congress to dedicate $30 million annually for 5 years into pediatric cancer research, but it also lead to improving data collection and sharing of critical information. The STAR Act also set the stage for improved representation of childhood cancer within the National Cancer Advisory Board.
Continuous Support is Needed
There have been many significant advancements in research that developed several new treatment options over the years. With these developments, the mortality rate has been substantially reduced but there is still much more to be done. According to ALSF, there are
approximately 1,800 children and adolescents still die of cancer each year in the United States. To further decrease the mortality rate of childhood cancer, continued funding and research is needed to find and develop new methods.
Why does Childhood Cancer need Treatments that are Different from Adult Cancer Types?
- Unlike major cancers that adults can develop that have risk factors which can be reduced, Childhood and adolescent cancer is a lot harder to protect against with preventative measures
- Some forms of cancer only affect children, which means less information is available about possible treatment options
- A child’s body handles treatment methods differently than an fully-developed adult’s body so even if a child develops the same type of cancer as an adult, the treatment methods are significantly different
- There are types and subtypes of childhood cancers and each one requires a specialized method of treatment
- Research is needed to determine types of treatments that is purposely made with a child’s body size and immune system in mind
Why is Funding Childhood Cancer Research or Supporting a Nonprofit Organization Necessary?
Many have invested in cancer research, all to find more types of better treatments that are specifically for a child’s body and immune system as well as research to uncover factors that can lead to specific cancers in children. For nonprofit organizations that are dedicated to finding better treatment options and cures for childhood cancers, support is incredibly vital. In addition, there are several ways to show support for these nonprofits such as participating as an advocate in raising awareness or donating funds which are used to create grants for researchers.
Some nonprofit organizations like the American Childhood Cancer Organization are fighting to raise awareness in government offices in efforts to help researchers and the healthcare community have access to resources and information. With the coordination of information-gathering, more research can be developed further based on another’s findings, which could lead to better treatment methods.On the other hand, nonprofits like Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation pour their efforts into bringing together the best childhood cancer researchers to share their expertise. With the collaboration of over 100 researchers and scientists, they are able to create roadmaps for treatment options and find areas that need more dedicated research.
Making a Difference
Even with all the progress that has been made, there is still a long way to go that has no easy answers or quick fixes. Only through extensive research, planning, advocating to our state and federal officials, and financial assistance can researchers find better solutions and even cures for childhood cancer.
Research saves lives so every action contributes to the fight against childhood cancer! If you want to support our fight or join together with us, we will post new events and ways you can get involved on our events page so check it out regularly. Regardless if you participate in an event to advocate for childhood cancer research or donate resources, we are very thankful for your collaboration with us!