Children get cancer too


Kathy LaTour blog image

September has been named Childhood Cancer Month and, while it's always hard to think about little kids getting cancer, they do, around 13,500 a year. The youngest patients often have leukemia and brain tumors, and to help these tiny patients there is a new video out starring Finn, a loveable puppet who talks about when he had cancer and going to the hospital and his nurse and doctor. A Boy Named Finn was created by KidsHealth,which has a website for children's health information. The Finn video is specifically aimed at preschoolers, whose ability to understand what is happening to them is often minimal. There are songs, dances and silly stuff throughout as Finn goes to the hospital for treatment, loses his hair and then goes back for follow-up. The Finn Center on their site also has lots of extras to get the little ones involved in the story. There are coloring pages that can be printed off, a pattern to knit the hat Finn wears and suggestions for parents about talking to their kids about Finn's story. To find it you need to go to and then click on the parents tab and put The Finn Center in the search box. I am hoping they will make it easier to find soon. We aren't told what kind of cancer Finn has, which allows it to be any kind for the children watching. Another great event for this month comes from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. St. Jude has established an ongoing follow-up study of its childhood cancer survivors to help understand the challenges they may face as they grow. This Saturday, September 7 at 9 a.m. CST the hospital is hosting a webcast about the late effects of cancer and its treatment. Clearly this is for parents of young childhood cancer survivors and those older survivors of childhood cancer. It is estimated that there are 395,000 childhood cancer survivors living in the United States, many of whom may be unaware of the emerging information about late effects of treatment and how to prepare and ameliorate those effects. Watch for a story in the winter issue of CURE about the results of one of the largest follow-ups of childhood survivors from St. Jude. Also, they are always looking for their former patients to add to this study, so if you were treated at St. Jude, be sure to contact them.The webcast will feature St. Jude survivors in a panel discussion, but survivors from all hospitals are encouraged to watch. Actor and survivor Hill Harper, who plays Dr. Sheldon Hawkes on the CBS drama CSI: NY, will speak about his journey. The webcast is free.Update: You can access the archived St. Jude webcast here. An earlier version of this blog stated that 40,000 children receive a cancer diagnosis annually. In the U.S., about 13,500 children are diagnosed each year.

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