2024’s International Childhood Cancer Day: Dispelling taboos and misconceptions about the illness

International children Cancer Day is observed on February 15 worldwide. Its goals are to increase public awareness of children cancer and to push for better early detection, treatment, and support for young patients and their families. With thousands of youngsters receiving a diagnosis each year, childhood cancer continues to be a major worldwide health concern. Children afflicted by cancer often come at a later stage, marked by inadequate awareness, delayed diagnosis, and treatment abandonment, which represent substantial hurdles in properly treating the illness, according to Dr. Satya Prakash Yadav, Director, Bone Marrow Transplant, Medanta, Gurugram.

Furthermore, there is a lot of misinformation and quiet around childhood cancer. Even while many illnesses can now be effectively treated because to medical developments, societal taboos and false information still exist, making early identification and successful treatment difficult. It takes a multifaceted strategy to dispel these beliefs and taboos, one that includes educating the public, creating a supportive environment for cancer-affected children and their families, and increasing awareness. Let’s dispel the misconceptions and taboos around children cancer on International children Cancer Day in 2024.

Myth 1: Cancer in children is uncommon.
Despite what many people think, juvenile cancer is not as uncommon as they think. The most common cause of disease-related mortality in children is childhood cancer. An estimated 200,000 youngsters get cancer diagnoses worldwide each year. Even while the frequency is less than in adults, it is nevertheless rather high.

Myth 2: Cancer in children is inherited.
Most children cancers are not inherited, while some may have a genetic component. Rather, they often result from haphazard mutations in the DNA of developing cells. While environmental factors could be involved in some instances, the precise etiology of the majority of children malignancies is yet unclear. Parents and families may feel less unwarranted shame or anxiety after realizing this.

Myth 3: Cancer in children may spread.
Cancer in children is not transmissible. It cannot be spread via close proximity to someone who has cancer, exchanging possessions, or physical touch. Regrettably, for kids receiving therapy, this misperception may result in social shame and isolation. It takes education and awareness to break this myth and provide impacted families with help.

Myth 4: Cancer in children invariably results in death.
Even while the survival rate for certain types of juvenile cancer is lower than others, many of them are quite curable, particularly if caught early. The results for kids with cancer have greatly improved because to developments in targeted therapy and customized medicine, among other therapeutic modalities.

Myth 5: Treatment for childhood cancer results in infertility.
Not all pediatric cancer therapies result in infertility, while some, like chemotherapy and radiation therapy, may impact fertility in both adults and children. Moreover, older kids and teenagers receiving cancer treatment have access to alternatives for fertility preservation such sperm or egg banking. Families should be informed about these worries by healthcare professionals, who should also, where necessary, look into fertility preservation measures.

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