In honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in September, Beaumont Children’s is celebrating its patients and families by raising awareness about pediatric cancers.
Some activities include:
- The placement of gold ribbons on trees at the Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak campus.
- The placement of yard signs on the Beaumont campus and in the community.
- Fundraising with Orangetheory Fitness and Wahlburgers.
“Survival rates for pediatric cancers have improved significantly over the past 50 years,” said Dr. Kate Gowans, chief, Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, Beaumont Children’s. “Today, innovative treatments to battle childhood cancers, like proton therapy and molecularly targeted therapy, provide more tools to battle cancers. Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak was the first hospital in Michigan to treat pediatric patients with proton technology.”
Facts about pediatric cancers
- Cancer is the No. 1 cause of death from disease among children.
- 1 in 285 children will be diagnosed with cancer before the age of 20.
- 1 in every 1,000 18-year-olds in the U.S. is a survivor of childhood cancer.
- In the past 40 years, survival rates have increased to more than 80 percent for children, adolescents and young adults with cancer.
“Another important role our team serves is caring for pediatric patients after their cancer therapy is complete, our survivors,” said Dr. Gowans.
The treatments that saved the lives of children with cancer can cause long-term health issues. These are called “late effects.” The effects of these treatments can include cardiac and respiratory issues, vision and hearing problems, delayed growth and development and learning disabilities. Lifetime medical follow-up is important.
Beaumont Children’s has a Pediatric Long-Term Follow-up Clinic that follows childhood cancer survivors into adolescence and adulthood. The goal: assist patients long after they complete their treatment. The clinic opened in 2008 to study and treat possible delayed effects of being a pediatric cancer survivor and to help patients and their families with medical issues as well as concerns related to educational access, insurance and employability. The multidisciplinary team includes a pediatric oncologist, pediatric oncology nurse navigator, pediatric social worker, child psychologist and clinical dietitian. Clinic founder and cancer specialist, Dr. Charles Main, helped create the Charles A. Main, M.D., Pediatric Cancer Survivor Scholarship Fund as a source for college scholarships funded by years of community donations.
Another multidisciplinary program, The Gilbert Family Adolescent and Young Adult Program, provides medical specialists, psycho-social services, financial counseling, academic and mentor support for adolescents and young adults ages 15 to 26. Patients with cancer, blood disorders or other tumor-related conditions may have special needs that might not be met solely through pediatric or adult cancer care. The Gilbert gift bridges those gaps with specialized programs housed in the Skandalaris Family Center for Children with Cancer and Blood Disorders.
Lisa Muma, RN, coordinator, Pediatric Long-Term Follow-up Clinic, said, “We’ve made great strides, yet the fight against childhood cancers is far from over. Through the placement of gold ribbons and signs, we’re working to raise much-needed awareness in our community and to honor our brave patients and their families. I’d also like to extend a special thanks to the Beaumont Health team and area businesses – Orangetheory Fitness and Wahlburgers for providing support for this special observance.”