Michigan Observes September as National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Contact: Kelly Niebel (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

September 10, 2008

In a national effort to raise public awareness about cancers affecting our children, Governor Jennifer Granholm has declared September as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

In 2004, 323 Michigan children were diagnosed with cancer. Fifty-two children in Michigan died of cancer in 2005.

The American Cancer Society estimates 10,730 new cases of childhood cancers will occur nationally in 2008. An estimated 1,490 deaths are expected to occur among children ages 0-14 in 2008; about one-third of these deaths from leukemia.

Although childhood cancers are uncommon, cancer is the second leading cause of death in children, exceeded only by accidents. Death rates for childhood cancer have declined by almost 50 percent since 1975. The substantial progress of the pediatric survival rate is largely attributed to improved treatments and the high proportion of patient participation in clinical trials.

There are no avoidable risk factors (such as smoking) that are known to influence most children's risk of developing cancer, and the causes of childhood cancers are largely unknown.

On July 29, 2008, President George W. Bush signed into law H.R. 1553, the Caroline Pryce Walker Conquer Childhood Cancer Act. The legislation was named in memory of Caroline Pryce Walker, daughter of Congresswoman Deborah Pryce (R-OH), who succumbed to neuroblastoma in 1999 at the age of nine, and will dramatically increase federal investment in childhood cancer research.

The bill authorizes $30 million annually over five years, providing funding for collaborative pediatric cancer clinical trials research, to create a population-based national childhood cancer database, and to further improve public awareness and communication regarding available treatment and research for children with cancer and their families.

"Childhood cancer has a devastating effect on both the child and the family as they deal with the physical and emotional long-range effects from the disease," said Janet Olzsewski, Michigan Department of Community Health Director. "Passage of the Caroline Pryce Walker Conquer Childhood Cancer Act represents significant progress in our fight against childhood cancers."

For more information about childhood cancers, please contact:

- American Cancer Society

o www.cancer.org

o 1-800-ACS-2345

- National Cancer Institute

o www.cancer.gov

o 1-800-4-CANCER