Childhood cancer Awareness (Action) Month - Day 10

Go Gold and Misleading Statistics

Everyone that has been following our posts or is an advocate for children's cancer knows that GOLD is the symbol for this effort and is prominently displayed during Childhood cancer Awareness Month.   We often are asked why pediatric cancer has this color, or if we know how gold was chosen over other colors.

The following paragraph is from the American Childhood Cancer Organization website."Like other forms of cancer, childhood cancer has an international symbol, the gold ribbon. This is an easily-recognizable symbol to unite under, if people know what it means. Sadly, when asked, most people would not be able to identify the gold ribbon as the symbol for childhood cancer awareness.

In 1997, a group of parents of children who suffered from cancer started discussing the creation of a universal awareness ribbon for children with cancer. Many colors were considered, but after much thought, it was decided that the color gold was the perfect choice for our cause. Gold is a precious metal, and our children are precious.

Go Gold is a way that your school or workplace can join in the fight to beat childhood cancer and provide HOPE to those who need it most. Organize a Go Gold fundraising event and help raise awareness of this important symbol. Each event creates awareness of childhood cancer issues, creates supportive communities for local families who are dealing with childhood cancer, and raises funds to provide information and support materials for children currently fighting cancer." 

Please click on this link at the American Childhood Cancer Organization's website and watch this 2 minute video:


Childhood cancer Awareness Fact of the Day:  Some organizations, and specifically some children's hospitals that treat kids with cancer, report that because of advances made (arguable, but....), 4 out of 5 children diagnosed with cancer will survive, or 80%. This statistic is a bit misleading when reported. First, the numbers include leukemia and all its forms, which has had great strides and advances in treatment, prognosis and survivability over the past 25 years. When the leukemia numbers are added to the other 11 major forms of children's cancer, it somewhat skews the numbers to the extent that it makes it appear that kids with all types of other cancers are surviving at that rate (or, at least markedly improved) as well. Not so. In other words, if the leukemia survivors are taken out of the numbers, the rates of survival for the other types of children's cancer are stagnant, have not changed significantly in this time period at all, and kids with these other types of cancer survive at rate much lower than 80%.

Second, and maybe most important to point out, the word "survival" has a definition of 5 years. That means that any child that is diagnosed with cancer that makes it past 5 years after diagnosis is considered to "survive".  SOURCE: 

We know that is not accurate, or, at best, misleading. Of course, many kids do survive a lifetime and grow up to be adults. But children diagnosed with cancer will pass away 6 or 7 or 8 years after diagnosis, after relapse, or just after prolonged and many years of suffering the harsh treatments and likely secondary cancers that occur later because of the treatments for the initial diagnosis. In fact, although Melissa and I have only been in this children's cancer world for 17 months, we already have personally known more than 5 children who were and are considered "survivors" in those statistics and yet they are no longer with us. They all passed away 5 or more years after diagnosis. When these numbers are measured over a ten year period, the numbers of children that do not survive is reduced to 1 in 4, not 1 in 5.   SOURCE:   

If my math is correct, that means that 20% more of the kids diagnosed will die from kids' cancer between years 6-10 after their initial diagnosis. Considering what Cannon has already experienced, and seeing what I have seen on pediatric oncology floors in hospitals in all the hospitals that we have been to around the country, that is painful to think of. It makes my heart sink.   

Those numbers, whether one in 5 or one in 4, are not acceptable. No one would argue otherwise. Won't you GO GOLD and help Melissa and I and all the parents and families and advocates for these kids??  Thank you.