September is named as National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. This awareness month was initiated to educate communities on the importance of early detection and intervention in the fight against childhood cancers. According to the National Cancer Institute, cancer death rates for children have declined, but still remains the leading cause of death among children. The most common types of cancer among children between 0 and 14 years old are leukemias, brain and central nervous system tumors, and lymphomas.
It is estimated that in 2021, approximately 10,500 children will be newly diagnosed with cancer under the age of 15, while 1,190 children will die. Although survival rates have improved through recent decades, survival rates vary based on the type of cancer and other factors. According to the American Cancer Society, unlike cancers in adults, lifestyle factors usually take many years to influence cancer risk, and they are not thought to play much of a role in childhood cancers. However, the causes of most childhood cancers are not fully known because the rarity of cancer in children and the difficulty to identify the contributing factors for cancer in children.
To ensure that children with cancer in Texas have access to state-of-the-art care, and understanding it is critically important to provide the resources, members of the Texas House and Senate allocated additional resources towards cancer research and prevention programs. For example, the Texas Legislature created the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) in 2007, to grow and accelerate the potential for breakthroughs in cancer preventions and cancer cures in Texas. This year, CPRIT announced $142 million in new cancer research and prevention grants. These awards will expand access to clinical trials, incubate innovative cancer research, support the state’s emerging biotechnology industry, provide needed cancer screenings for underserved Texans and recruit outstanding cancer researchers to Texas. For more information about CPRIT, visit Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.
During National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, I hope you join in supporting research and sharing information to spread awareness about childhood cancer. To learn more about childhood cancer and the significance of this awareness month, please visit National Cancer Institute. Additional information is available by visiting American Cancer Society-Cancer in Children.
If you would like to review more about the legislature, please visit the Texas Legislature online at www.capitol.state.tx.us/. If you have questions regarding any of the information mentioned in this week’s article, please do not hesitate to call my Capitol or District Office. As always, my offices are available at any time to assist with questions, concerns or comments (Capitol Office, 512-463-0672; District Office; 361-949-4603).
– State Representative Todd Hunter, District 32
Rep. Hunter represents Nueces County (Part). He can be contacted at email@example.com or at 512-463-0672.