International Childhood Cancer Day

International Childhood Cancer Day
15 Feb 2024
9 mins
Table Of Content
International Childhood Cancer Day

    International Childhood Cancer Day (ICCD), which is observed on February 15th, is a worldwide effort to bring attention to the issue of childhood cancer and to show support for young cancer patients, those who have survived, and their families. ICCD aims to raise awareness and unite people to address this important issue.


    Pediatric oncology is a crucial area in medicine that focuses on treating and managing cancer in children, as well as devising strategies for pain control and home care. Despite advancements in medical science and technology, cancer is still the primary cause of death by disease among children beyond infancy. Childhood cancer is a traumatic experience and requires specialized care and treatment. 


    This blog will create awareness about childhood cancer by addressing frequently asked questions and preventive, proactive tips.


    History of International Childhood Cancer Day 


    Each year, an estimated 400,000 children and adolescents of 0-19 years old develop cancer. Keeping this in concern, Childhood Cancer International, a global network of parent organizations, established International Childhood Cancer Day to promote optimal care for children with cancer. The day is dedicated to increasing awareness about childhood cancer and the various available treatments for cancer. In India, childhood cancers between the 0–14 age group accounted for 4.0% of all cancers. Although cancer is among the leading causes of children's death, the number of fatalities has decreased over time.


    International Childhood Cancer Day was established to enhance the rate of treatment and reduce the agony experienced by children worldwide who are affected by cancer. In wealthy countries where healthcare is readily available, over 80% of children with cancer survive. However, in less wealthy countries, including those with middle and lower incomes, less than 30% of children with cancer survive.


    International Childhood Cancer Day (ICCD) prioritizes the significance of providing fair access to cancer treatment for children who are victims or survivors of cancer. The ICCD strives to ensure that children worldwide have access to the most excellent possible care and can effectively overcome the challenges cancer presents to their quality of life. The ICCD's goal is to increase global awareness of childhood cancer. It aligns with the World Health Organization's (WHO) Global Initiative on Childhood Cancer to achieve a 60% survival rate for children with cancer.


    Frequently Asked Questions About Childhood Cancer


    1. What are the causes of childhood cancer?

    The exact causes of childhood cancer are not fully understood. However, some known causes and risk factors include, 

    • Genetic mutations
    • Exposure to certain chemicals
    • Family history
    • Inherited genetic conditions
    • Previous cancer treatment
    • Exposure to infections


    2. How to prevent Childhood cancer?

    The primary cause of childhood cancer is often unknown, making it challenging to prevent. However, some possible preventive measures include:

    • Monitoring families with a genetic predisposition to cancer through regular screenings.
    • Monitoring children who have undergone cancer treatment for the development of secondary cancers caused by chemotherapy or radiation.
    • Encouraging pregnant mothers to lead a healthy lifestyle and avoid exposure to toxic chemicals and waste.
    • Promptly addressing any unusual symptoms in children, such as persistent fever, prolonged headaches, weight loss, anemia, or the presence of abnormal masses on the body.

    The measure mentioned above can help increase awareness about early detection and improve the chances of getting successful treatment.

    3. What are the warning signs of childhood cancer that parents must be aware of?

    The various signs and symptoms the parents need to be aware of and address immediately to a doctor include the following, 

    • Headaches
    • Vomiting
    • Sudden unexplained fevers, lasting for longer than usual
    • Any lumps that grow rapidly
    • Fatigue
    • Unusual bleeding or bruising
    • Vision changes
    • Lymph nodes that are enlarged


    4. What are the treatments available to treat childhood cancers?

    The treatment for childhood cancer often involves a combination of different approaches, including chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy. The specific combination of treatments used depends on the type, location of the tumor, and the stage of the disease. It is also important to closely monitor any side effects after each treatment session.

    5. Why did my child lose hair during cancer treatment? Will the hair ever grow back?

    Children with cancer may lose their hair due to the chemotherapy treatments they receive. The chemotherapy medication is designed to eliminate all cancerous cells in the body but may also affect some healthy cells, such as hair cells. This is because the medication works very effectively to help the child recover. Once the child has completed their chemotherapy treatment, their hair will regrow.


    6. How long will my child need treatment for childhood cancer?

    The length of treatment for childhood cancer can vary significantly depending on several factors, including the type of cancer, the stage of the disease, and the child's overall health. The treatment may last a few months or even years.

    7. What are some questions to ask your doctor about childhood cancer?

    Some questions to ask your doctor about childhood cancer include,

    • What caused my child to develop cancer?
    • What type of cancer does my child have?
    • What is the treatment that will be given to my child?
    • What will be the entire cost of the treatment?
    • How long will my child need to stay at the hospital?


    8. Does parental smoking increase the risk of childhood cancer?

    Yes, parental smoking is a known risk factor for childhood cancer. When parents smoke, their children can be exposed to harmful chemicals in secondhand smoke, which may elevate the risk of developing certain types of childhood cancers, including leukemia and brain tumors. Additionally, exposure to tobacco smoke during pregnancy can also pose a risk to the unborn child. Therefore, parents must refrain from smoking around their children and create smoke-free environments to help lower the risk of childhood cancer.


    Preventing Childhood Cancer

    1. Avoiding harmful stuff: Stay away from things that can cause cancer, like cigarette smoke, radiation, and bad chemicals in the environment.

    2. Being healthy: Eat good food with lots of fruits and veggies, exercise regularly, keep your body weight in check, and try not to be around harmful things too much.

    3. Get vaccinated: Get all your shots, as some can protect you from infections that might lead to cancer, like HPV or hepatitis B.

    4. Know your genes: If your family has a history of cancer or certain genes that make cancer more likely, talk to a doctor who can help keep an eye on things and suggest ways to stay healthy.

    5. Stay safe in the sun: Don't spend too much time in the sun or tanning beds; always use sunscreen and wear protective clothes when you're outside.

    6. See the doctor regularly: Visit your doctor often to catch any health problems early and get the right tests or treatments to keep you healthy.

    7. Learn and share: Teach your parents, teachers, and doctors about what causes cancer in kids, the signs to watch for, and what to do if they think something's wrong.


    International Childhood Cancer Day reminds us how cancer affects kids all around the world. By teaching others, working together, and asking for changes, we can make sure every child gets the help they need to fight cancer and live a happy, healthy life.




    Knowing that your child has cancer is a dreadful experience. However, there are various treatments available to treat childhood cancer. Hence, it is essential to be aware of any unusual cancer symptoms and address them as soon as possible to enable early detection and treatment. This International Childhood Cancer Day 2024 (ICCD) spreads awareness among the public about the various signs and symptoms, causes, and risk factors of childhood cancer to encourage parents to be alert and get their children diagnosed and treated on time. 

    "Let your faith be bigger than your fear."

    Written by
    Dr VijayalakshmiMedical Content Writer
    AboutDr. Vijayalakshmi is a Medical Content Writer at MrMed. She completed her Bachelor of Dentistry (BDS) from Sri Ramakrishna Dental College, Coimbatore, in 2022, where she expertise in dental and clinical research. During her internship, she has also worked on various research projects and presented scientific papers in national UG seminars. Post her UG, she has upskilled in pharmacovigilance regulations and clinical trial methodology through certification courses. She is proficient in researching, writing, editing, and proofreading medical content and blogs.
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