This September, the Maurer Foundation joins the rest of the United States — from non-profit organizations to community health groups to the White House — to recognize National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
As educators who regularly present breast health programs to teenagers and young women, this cause is of the utmost importance to us. We may focus on breast cancer and the preventative measures young people can take to have healthy, cancer-free futures, but we fully support the hard work taking place to improve treatment and find cures for the diseases that afflict children while they are still so young.
As President Obama recently outlined in his proclamation of National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, each year, more American children under 15 die of pediatric cancers than any other disease. While treatments are continually becoming more effective and advanced, thousands of families are devastated by childhood cancers across the country.
When it comes to breast cancer among teenagers and girls, it is thankfully incredibly rare (we know that only 5% of breast cancers even occur in women under 40, and one study estimates that a 15-year-old girl has a 1 in 571,429 chance of being diagnosed). Still, we at the Maurer Foundation believe that the mid-teens are the ideal time for girls to start learning about breast cancer, how to avoid breast cancer risk factors, and even how to begin the lifelong, life-saving habit of performing breast self-exams.
Children fighting cancer is a tragedy, but also a daily reality for far too many American families. This month, we stand with them. And for our part of this ongoing battle against cancer, we pledge to continue our efforts to educate young people on the importance of healthy lifestyle habits and early detection.
How will you recognize National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month?