As if the word Cancer isn’t terrible enough, when it is mentioned in the same sentence as ‘your child’ it instantly turns your world upside down. We went from being uneducated about children’s cancers to devouring all information out there and wanting to do whatever it takes to help other children and the families sharing the same journey.
Did you know?
- In the UK cancer is the leading cause of death from disease in children aged 1-14 years and accounts for almost a fifth of all deaths in this age group.
- Cancer is relatively rare in children, accounting for less than 1% of all cancers.
- In the UK an average of around 1,600 children are diagnosed with cancer each year, that’s 30 children every week.
- Around 1 in 500 children in Great Britain will develop some form of cancer by 14 years of age
- Around 250 children die from cancer each year in the UK.
- Three-quarters of children with cancer are now cured, compared with around a quarter in the late 1960s.
Before being admitted to Ward 4 (The Great North Children’s Hospital dedicated Paediatric Cancer Ward), I found myself oblivious and ignorant to child cancer, hoping that we would never end up on that ward. How fate takes it’s turn – what I found on the ward was a different world. Not a ward full of desperation or negativity, but a ward full of hope, pride and fighters. Some children dancing around the ward whilst on a drip full of chemo or having a blood transfusion laughing and giggling. As you get to know the other families and the stories you get to realise how important knowing the signs of difference child cancers becomes.
So which types of child cancer are there?
- soft tissue sarcomas
- kidney tumours
- brain, other CNS and intracranial tumours
- bone sarcomas
- carcinomas and melanomas
- retinoblastomas lymphomas
- gonadal & germ cell tumours
- liver tumours
- sympathetic nervous system tumours
- other and unspecified tumours
Finley was diagnosed with a Wilms Tumour in the kidney. This was only found at an early stage because he was admitted to hospital through tonsilitis and a Doctor did her routine checks and found the mass. Although we did at the time, express our concerns that something other than the reflux he had been diagnosed with months before, was wrong. Other families stories were similar. A little boy’s tumour found behind the eye was only found due to his sibling dropping a toy on his eye and it swelled up. A teenage boys leukaemia found in his knee only suspected from injuring himself in a football match. It seems childhood cancer tends to quietly lurk before it’s too late – but there are, usually, early indicators.
Please click the image below for the main points to look out for if you ever suspect your child to have cancer:
Finley’s Gift is not only dedicated to helping others, but most importantly raising the awareness of childhood cancer. This becomes a priority, as we have found out, finding the cancer as early as possible really does make a huge difference towards the level of suffering your child goes through during treatment. As evasive and surprising as child cancer can be, we need to raise the awareness for everybody and what we have found through experience, going with your gut feeling is always a recommendation – if you know something still isn’t quite right then please investigate this further.