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Patient to Peer: Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

October is breast cancer awareness month, a fact I’m confident that almost every single person knows about. Pink products and ribbons are everywhere. There are several fundraisers and walks going on for breast cancer research throughout October. I’m glad that there are large amounts of publicity and funding going towards breast cancer, but it seems to emphasizes the lack of publicity for all other types of cancers, especially childhood cancers. September was childhood cancer awareness month. To my knowledge, there were not any buildings lit up gold or advertisements posted at every angle. Personally, I did not see anything during childhood cancer awareness month with the exception of childhood cancer-focused organizations; I only saw them things because I had gone out of my way to find them. This is very disheartening to me for  I have experienced childhood cancer firsthand.

Driving through Boston in September, no buildings were lit up gold for childhood cancer. My mother told me about petitions for the white house to display gold lights for childhood cancer awareness on several occasions. However, as soon as the calendar turned to October, the white house was lit up pink, without being asked to do so.

Breast cancer has a high prognosis, meaning that if you get diagnosed with breast cancer, there’s a good chance that you’ll live with minimal ailments. For childhood cancers, this isn’t the case. As breast cancer is one of the most publicized cancers, it receives the most funding and therefore research, to make new advances for treatments and improve prognoses. However, for childhood cancers, the lack of publicity and funding means that advancements for treatments and prognoses have been way too slow; alike to my cancer, osteosarcoma, were there haven’t been changes to treatments nor improvements for prognoses since the 1970’s. 

I was born and raised in Maine, diagnosed with cancer at the age of seventeen (beat it at the age of eighteen), and I love red pandas. I was treated in both Maine and Massachusetts, and due to my experiences, I am a biochemistry major on the pre-med track at Simmons University, with the hopes of going into oncology research for pediatric cancers.
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