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International Childhood Cancer Day 2024: Debunking myths and taboos about the disease

Join us on International Childhood Cancer Day 2024 as we challenge misconceptions and break through taboos surrounding childhood cancer. Together, let's spread awareness and foster understanding to support young warriors in their fight against this disease.

Muskan Gupta Written By: Muskan Gupta New Delhi Published on: February 15, 2024 13:23 IST
International Childhood Cancer Day 2024
Image Source : FREEPIK International Childhood Cancer Day 2024: Myths and taboos

On February 15, the world comes together to observe International Childhood Cancer Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness about childhood cancer and advocating for improved diagnosis, treatment, and support for young patients and their families. Childhood cancer remains a significant global health issue, with thousands of children diagnosed each year. According to Dr. Satya Prakash Yadav, Director, Bone Marrow Transplant, Medanta, Gurugram, Children affected by cancer often present at a later stage, characterized by poor awareness, delayed diagnosis, and treatment abandonment, which pose significant challenges in managing the disease effectively.

Further, childhood cancer is a topic often shrouded in misconception and silence. While medical advancements have made great strides in treating these diseases, misinformation and cultural taboos persist, hindering early detection and effective treatment. Addressing these myths and taboos requires a multi-faceted approach that involves raising awareness, promoting education, and fostering a supportive environment for children and families affected by cancer. On International Childhood Cancer Day 2024, let us debunk the myths and taboos surrounding childhood cancer. 

Myth 1: Childhood cancer is rare.

Contrary to popular belief, childhood cancer is not as rare as many assume. Childhood cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children. Globally, an estimated 200,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year. While the incidence is lower compared to adults, it's by no means insignificant.

Myth 2: Childhood cancer is hereditary.

While some cancers have a genetic component, the majority of childhood cancers are not hereditary. Instead, they often arise from random mutations in the DNA of growing cells. Environmental factors may play a role in some cases, but the exact causes of most childhood cancers remain unknown. Understanding this can alleviate unnecessary guilt or fear among parents and families.

Myth 3: Childhood cancer is contagious.

Childhood cancer is not contagious. It cannot be transmitted through physical contact, sharing belongings, or being near someone with cancer. Unfortunately, this myth can lead to social stigma and isolation for children undergoing treatment. Education and awareness are essential in dispelling this misconception and fostering support for affected families.

Myth 4: Childhood cancer is always fatal.

While some forms of childhood cancer have lower survival rates, many are highly treatable, especially when diagnosed early. Advances in medical technology and treatment protocols, such as personalized medicine and targeted therapy, have significantly improved outcomes for children with cancer. 

Myth 5: Childhood cancer treatment causes infertility.

While certain cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, can affect fertility in both children and adults, not all childhood cancer treatments result in infertility. Moreover, fertility preservation options, such as sperm or egg banking, are available for older children and adolescents undergoing cancer treatment. Healthcare providers must discuss these concerns with families and explore fertility preservation options when appropriate.

ALSO READ: International Childhood Cancer Day 2024: Common types of childhood cancer and their signs


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