Awareness months are calendar months designated to helping organizations provide information and education relevant to a particular health condition or disease. In this section, the editors of Oncology Nurse Advisor highlight four of the cancers that share September as an awareness month. In doing so, we offer tips for coping with various aspects of cancer and its treatments, including dealing with the emotional toll on family, questions to ask about treatments, changes in dietary needs, and tips for managing survivorship. We also provide various types of information from respected sources. Although the information provided here is from reputable sources, you should always consult the members of your oncology care team for information specific to your diagnosis and treatment.
Childhood cancer is the leading disease-related cause of death in children.1 An estimated 11,210 new cases of cancer were diagnosed in children age birth to 14 years in 2011, but not all the statistics on childhood cancer are bad news. For example, cancer incidence has increased slightly; however, mortality rates in children have decreased by more than 50%.1 Combined 5-year survival of all pediatric cancers was less than 50% before the 1970s; survival today is 80%.1
Leukemia and lymphoma are diagnosed in more than 100,000 people each year, and more than 50,000 people die from their disease.2Leukemia is cancer of the blood. In persons with this disease, their bone marrow makes abnormal white blood cells that do not die, thereby crowding out healthy white blood cells and other types of blood cells.3 Cancers that start in the lymph nodes are called lymphoma.2 The two main types of lymphoma are Hodgkin lymphoma, which spreads from one group of lymph nodes to another in an orderly manner, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which spreads through the lymph nodes in a nonorderly manner.2
Ovarian cancer forms in tissues of the ovary.4 Most cases of ovarian cancer are one of two types: Ovarian epithelial (begins in the cells on the surface of the ovary) and malignant germ cell tumors (begin in the egg, or ovum, cells).4 An estimated 22,280 new cases of ovarian cancer will be diagnosed in 2012, and approximately 15,500 patients will die from the disease.4
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in US men.5 An estimated 241,740 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in 2012, with approximately 28,170 deaths from the disease. Prostate cancer is most common in men 65 years and older, and more than half of men have some cancer in their prostate by age 80 years. The disease is most often found in its early stages when a number of treatment options are available.5
1. National Cancer Institute. A snapshot of pediatric cancers. http://www.cancer.gov/PublishedContent/Files/aboutnci/servingpeople/snapshots/2011_Pediatric_snapshot.508.pdf. Last updated October 2011. Accessed July 25, 2012.
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Blood cancers: Leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma. http://www.cdc.gov/Features/HematologicCancers/. Accessed July 27, 2012.
3. National Cancer Institute. What you need to know about leukemia. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/wyntk/leukemia. Accessed July 27, 2012.
4. National Cancer Institute. Ovarian cancer. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/ovarian. Accessed July 30, 2012.
5. National Cancer Institute. Prostate cancer. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/prostate. Accessed July 30, 2012.
These resources provide information on most cancer types. They also offer print publications, Web sites, pdfs for download, and links to a multitude of information for every aspect of cancer, diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship.
American Childhood Cancer Association www.acco.org
American Cancer Society www.cancer.org
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society www.lls.org
National Cancer Institute www.cancer.gov
National Ovarian Cancer Coalition www.ovarian.org
Prostate Cancer Foundation www.pcf.org