The Daily Mail today launched a major campaign with Cancer Research UK to raise money for children and young people with cancer.
Every day at least a dozen families are given the devastating news that their child has cancer and is facing potentially life-changing treatments to survive.
With new figures predicting a fifth of childhood cancer cases in the next two decades, the call for action has never been greater. Cancer Research UK estimates that a further 92,760 people under the age of 25 in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer by 2040.
That is why the newspaper is launching the Fighting to Beat Children’s Cancer campaign in association with the charity.
Around 5,090 young lives will be turned upside down each year – a jump of almost 20 per cent on the 4,280 in the previous 12 months. We’re asking our generous readers to contribute money to help fund trials and develop new treatments to turn the tide on cancer.
All money raised will support Cancer Research UK’s work in cancers affecting children and young people, so that more 0-24 year olds can survive cancer with a good quality of life. It is hoped that this partnership will help test life-saving new drugs on thousands of children a year, potentially benefiting generations to come.
Michelle Mitchell, the charity’s chief executive, said ‘considerable progress’ has been made with some cancers, but many remain ‘backwards’. They warned that around 93,000 children and young adults in the UK could expect to be diagnosed with cancer over the next two decades.
She said: ‘They need access to treatments that will not only give them the best chance of survival, but minimize side effects during treatment and in the decades following. Our research has already resulted in more effective and kinder treatments for cancers affecting children such as Hodgkin lymphoma, kidney and liver cancer – but we need to do more.
‘While we have made huge strides in improving survival in some cancers, many have lagged behind with treatments that are at the limit of what patients and their families can tolerate.
‘With the support of Daily Mail readers, we will be able to improve the future for children and young people with cancer, helping them to survive their disease with a better quality of life.’
Cancer remains the leading cause of death from disease among young people in the UK, killing one in five diagnosed – around 500 per year.
Unlike adult cancers where factors including obesity are driving factors, little is known about the causes behind childhood cancers, beyond the fact that prognosis is better and theories about environmental factors such as pollution.
Dr Laura Danielson, head of research for children’s cancer at Cancer Research UK, said it is ‘worrying’ that cancer cases in children are rising but the improvement in mortality rates shows that the success of treatment is saving lives.
“We don’t know conclusively why cases are increasing among children and young people,” he said. ‘This is why it is so important that we continue our important research to learn more about the origins of cancer, such as the research we are funding to understand how errors in the development of blood cells Can cause some types of leukemia in children.
Huge treatment advances have increased the five-year survival rate for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) from seven in ten patients to nine in ten since the 1980s.
But others associated with solid tumors are very short-lived, and further research is desperately needed. The campaign aims to support research into trials for cancers with poor survival rates, such as brain tumors and sarcomas.
In the meantime, nearly everyone diagnosed will face chemotherapy, especially with drug combinations for younger patients whose bodies are still growing. Since the 1970s, Cancer Research UK has played a role in preventing around 30,000 deaths of children and young people in the UK.
Successes to date include developing a test for an inherited form of the eye cancer retinoblastoma, with earlier treatment meaning almost every child now survives. Its team of experts have been behind more than 50 chemotherapy drugs and today more than three out of four patients given chemo on the NHS receive a drug we’ve been involved in.
The new campaign aims to continue this work, ensuring every child has access to the best treatments and research.
We know money is tight this Christmas but we’re asking readers to go deep again to help this worthy cause and promote children’s cancer survival.
Donations will go towards good causes, including helping to fund the Birmingham Clinical Trials Unit, a world-leading center that tests children to test new and better medicines.
Julia Chisholm, NHS England’s national specialty advisor on children’s cancer, said: ‘The NHS has made huge strides in recent years in treating children and young people with cancer.
‘It is vital that we continue to build on the great progress of recent years. Research is vital to making sure we can adopt the best treatments in the NHS for young people with cancer and so Mel’s campaign to raise awareness this Christmas is fantastic.’
For more information visit appeal page,
With a combination of remarkable bravery and quick treatment, Jasper Johnson beat cancer in just 75 days.
The seven-year-old was diagnosed with Burkitt non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a rare blood cancer, in January after experiencing abdominal cramps and weight loss.
Scans revealed she had intussusception – where a part of the intestine folds in on itself like a telescope – and needed emergency surgery that day.
Tests on the area that had been removed found it to be cancerous, and he immediately began chemotherapy, which would cure him of the disease. After two rounds of treatment, Jasper made a full recovery in early April.
Seven-year-old Jasper was diagnosed with Burkitt non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a rare blood cancer, in January after experiencing stomach cramps and weight loss.
Mum Brenda said it was a ‘whirlwind’ that had turned the family’s life upside down.
The 45-year-old apprentice chef, from Allbrook, near Southampton, said: ‘It’s been an awesome journey and compared to other people our journey was very short. but when she rang the bell [on leaving hospital at the end of treatment] It was very happy and very wonderful. I just kept crying, I couldn’t stop. There is only so much emotion that comes out.
Jasper’s father, Richard, 43, remembers the moment he was given the news every parent dreads.
Following surgery on his son at Southampton General Hospital, he was asked to return for a post-operative review. ‘We sat down with three doctors and they told us that the offending piece of tissue they had analyzed had come back with some abnormalities,’ he said.
‘ I asked him straight out, “Is it cancer?” The surgeon replied, “Yes”. I asked if it was terminal but he said it could be treated. The rest was just a blur.
Tests showed that the cancer was caught early and had not spread, but that Jasper would need chemotherapy to make sure all scars were gone.
Mr Johnson, an air traffic controller, said he then had to convince Jasper he needed more treatment as well as break the news to his older sister Isobel, now 11.
She said: ‘We told her she had a bug and the doctors needed to give her some medicine to get rid of it. We said that the medicine might make her worse and her hair fall out and that she might need to do some tests to check if the bug is hiding somewhere.
‘We told her that if the bug was still around, she could get more medicine to make sure it didn’t come back again.’
Jasper was given two rounds of chemotherapy, which Cancer Research UK was instrumental in developing.
Mrs Johnson said: ‘Our consultant explained that this was a treatment that had been used for the last 15 to 20 years because it works.
‘The fact that they knew what it was, knew exactly what was the treatment that was needed, is what makes something so unbearable, listenable.
‘They’ve got the answers, this is what’s going to happen, this is the schedule and these are the drugs you’re going to take… It’s clear.
But it is not for everyone and it should be so. Everyone should be able to hear “this is what we’re gonna do” and just kick cancer in the butt.
‘That’s why people should donate to them because that’s what cancer research does – it works.’
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