This is Michael. Today I want to speak as a parent, and explain how we learned Cannon had developed neuroblastoma cancer that had progressed to stage IV by the time it was diagnosed. I do so in hopes that it will help others and ultimately evidence why our goal of funding research is so necessary.
When Cannon began to walk and was cutting teeth, he would very often have low grade fevers. Nothing abnormal and pretty usual for toddlers that are teething. Melissa and I thought nothing of it. A month or two later, he fell down when we were swimming, and appeared to hurt his leg. For days, he limped and it did not seem to improve. When he was taken to a pediatric orthopedic physician and X-rayed, we all believed that he had a huge bone infection behind his knee. Unfortunately, it was not infection, it was metastasized cancer that had spread from the initial neuroblastoma tumor at his adrenal gland to his bone marrow, shoulder, pelvis and leg. His urine level confirmed the specifics of the cancer, and that night, April 19, 2013, we began a hell for Cannon and an education for us that has brought us to where we are today. It seemed to me then, and still makes sense today, that there ought to be a simple urine or blood test available to all children during well checkups to detect cancer, and stop more children from dying because of the extent and progression of the cancer by the time it is detected. But there isn't. CKc wants to change that.
Childhood cancer Awareness Fact for Today: The average age of a child diagnosed with cancer is 6 years old.
People have asked, “Why is cancer in children almost always progressed to stage III or IV by the time it is found and diagnosed?” The answer is that the symptoms of cancer in children --- low grade fever, belly pain, headaches, swollen glands, bruises, joint pain, limping or infections --- are often overlooked, suspected and treated as other normal and regular childhood illnesses such as flu, virus, teething, normal bumps and bruises, etc. Unfortunately, by the time cancer is diagnosed, most cancers in children are in progressed stages and have metastisized to other parts of the body (SolvingKidsCancer.org).
Many and most adult cancers can and are diagnosed early; not so with the majority of children's cancers. (St. Baldrick’s Foundation). Why? Early detection methods are not researched and developed because "the market is not big enough". In other words, not enough kids are diagnosed, suffering and dying for the medical community, our government, the private sector or the general public to care. Sound harsh? How is it wrong?
For all the children who have suffered at the hand of childhood cancer, truly suffered, and especially for those unjustly and unnecessarily lost, please help us at Cannonball Kids' cancer by making a donation today at cannonballkidscancer.org. Your donation goes directly towards funding pediatric cancer research trials. Only research and development through trials and bench to bedside work will stop this madness. We believe we can do it. Thank you.