Did you know that the leading cause of death by disease among children under age 15 in the U.S. is cancer? It’s true. Each year more than 10,000 childhood cancer cases will be diagnosed in the U.S. Worldwide, almost 100,000 children die annually from cancer before the age of 15 years.
Losing a child to cancer brings unthinkable pain and despair to the child’s parents, which is why all parents need to do whatever they can, starting from early on, to prevent such a terrible loss.
The most common childhood cancers are brain and central nervous system tumors, leukemia, and lymphoma. There are also some rare forms of pediatric cancer, such as Wilms tumor. The causes of childhood cancers remain largely a mystery. It’s unlikely that known adult lifestyle-related risk factors (such as first-hand smoking and alcohol) influence a child’s risk of getting cancer. Some studies indicate that most childhood cancers result from inherited gene mutations, environmental factors, or interactions between genetic and environmental factors.
Because genetic errors occur randomly and unpredictably, there is little you can do to prevent them except to insist on a healthy lifestyle for your child. Cancer prevention and healthy habits should start from childhood so that we can protect our children from developing cancer when they are children and also later, as adults. The earlier that children adopt a healthy lifestyle, the better off they will be in their overall health and wellness and the more likely they will stay with healthy living in the long term. It is also very important to prevent early-life exposure to toxic substances that can be harmful to children and affect their health decades later.
Fostering a healthy lifestyle for our children can be a challenge given modern society’s hectic lifestyle. For example, everyone knows it’s important to eat more vegetables and fruits, but it’s easy to fall into the fast food or junk food trap. Because we often have so much to do, we also tend to have many excuses to keep both ourselves and our kids from being physically active. But even with a hectic schedule, we need to make time to protect our children from developing cancer now or in the future.
1. Avoid or minimize exposure to toxic chemicals.
2. Avoid exposure of your kids to secondhand smoke.
3. Avoid or minimize radiation exposure.
4. Limit cell phone use.
5. Practice sun protection.
6. Prevent childhood obesity with a healthy diet and regular exercise.
7. Drink safe, filtered water.
8. Protect your child from infectious diseases.
9. Educate teens to practice safe sex.
10. Ensure your kids’ regular checkups for early detection of any suspicious growths.
As the saying goes, “Our children’s health is our nation’s wealth.” At present, the best strategy to prevent childhood cancer and cancer later in life is your helping your kids develop a healthy lifestyle based on your cancer awareness.