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Cancer, a life-threatening disease, can affect anyone, anytime, irrespective of their age and gender. It can disrupt the smooth functioning life of an individual, be it a young adult or a senior citizen. Children, too, are not spared from this disease; in fact, cancer is a leading cause of death in children and adolescents. To raise awareness about childhood cancer, Childhood Cancer International (CCI) declared February 15 as the day to observe International Childhood Cancer Awareness Day (ICCD).
Read on to know the history, significance, facts, and more about this day!
What Is Childhood Cancer Day?
International Childhood Cancer Day (ICCD) is observed annually on February 15, to raise awareness about childhood cancer, and to lend support to children and adolescents with cancer, cancer survivors, and their families.
The day aims to develop a deeper understanding of this ailment around the world. It emphasises the need for global efforts to ensure better access to treatment for children worldwide.
When Is Childhood Cancer Day?
International Childhood Cancer Day is observed on February 15 every year.
History of Childhood Cancer Day
International Childhood Cancer Day was first observed in 2002 by CCI, a global network of 170+ organizations, childhood cancer support groups, childhood cancer survivors associations, and cancer societies, spread over 93 countries and across five continents.
The idea of celebrating this day is based on the core belief of CCI, that every child and adolescent suffering from cancer deserves to receive the best possible medical and psychological care, despite the country they live in, the race they belong to, or their financial and social status.
Significance of Childhood Cancer Day
Why does International Childhood Cancer Day exist?
Because all children and adolescents who are afflicted with this disease need support—medical, financial, and emotional.
Childhood cancer is a prominent cause of non-communicable death in children and adolescents, in both developed and developing countries. The lack of correct knowledge about this disease, a delay in diagnosis, and lack of proper treatment and care can result in death.
To increase awareness about the same, International Childhood Cancer Day was created. ICCD is a global campaign that encourages individuals and organisations to support children with cancer, their families, and cancer survivors. It creates awareness about cancer, and highlights the need for better access to treatment for children across the world.
The main objectives of the International Childhood Cancer Day are:
- raising awareness about childhood cancer.
- improving access to healthcare services all over the world.
- providing palliative care.
- providing cancer treatment to affected children and adolescents.
- supporting children with cancer and their families.
Childhood Cancer Day – Theme
For 2021, the ICCD’s theme or message is: better survival is achievable #throughourhands. International Childhood Cancer Awareness Day (ICCD), Childhood Cancer International (CCI), and the International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP) have announced a joint three-year campaign on the ‘Tree of Life’ concept and the Advocacy Toolkit, to send a message of hope and to speed up progress on life-saving research for patients. For ICCD 2021-2023, the SIOP and CCI have selected the Tree of Life, a symbol of growth and renewal, to send out the message that childhood cancer can be cured and the survivors’ well-being can be ensured if everyone involved continue to work for the same goal.
Childhood Cancer Day Symbol
The awareness symbol for International Childhood Cancer Day is a gold ribbon. It’s the symbol for all types of cancer that affect children and adolescents. The gold ribbon was decided as the universal symbol for raising awareness about childhood cancer in the year 1997. Many colours were considered for the same, but gold was agreed upon as the final choice, as it represented the most precious thing in parents’ lives—children.
Who Can Get Involved?
Individuals and organisations can show their support to raise awareness about this malady and make childhood cancer a global health priority, so that there are enough resources to meet the basic requirements of the children affected with cancer.
You can also support the International Childhood Cancer Day campaign in various ways. You can donate to the cause, spread correct information about it to more parents and families, or raise awareness by participating in the ICCD #throughourhands Campaign.
What Are the Common Childhood Cancers?
As per a research paper by the Indian Pediatrics, the most common types of cancer in children are:
- CNS tumours (brain cancer)
- genitourinary tumour
- bone tumour
- eye tumour
- gastrointestinal tumour
- liver tumour
Facts About Childhood Cancer
Here’s some information about childhood cancer that you may not have known before:
- Cancer is a leading cause of death for children and adolescents all over the world, and around 300,000 children, between the ages of 0 and 19 years, are diagnosed with cancer every year.
- Childhood cancer is hard to diagnose and prevent, though early diagnosis and proper treatment can help successfully treat cancer in children 70% of the time.
- The average age of children when they are diagnosed with childhood cancer is 6 years.
- About two-thirds of childhood cancer patients tend to suffer chronic health problems.
Having a loved one diagnosed with this disease can be traumatic, especially when it’s your child. Being informed about the disease, and providing timely diagnosis, treatment, and palliative care may help treat it.