'Lack of awareness' on child cancer

02 September 2014 09:22

A charity has warned about the lack of awareness to childhood cancers

A charity has warned about the lack of awareness to childhood cancers

Many people are unaware of childhood cancer, a charity has discovered.

According to research by CLIC Sargent, a cancer charity for children and their families, there is a lack of awareness across the country of the number of children affected by cancer.

In truth, 1,600 children up to the age of 15 are diagnosed with cancer each year in the UK. But the charity's survey shows a third of people underestimate this figure, and a quarter are not aware of the number.

Meanwhile, the poll found 32% underestimate the number of miles a family travels to attend hospital appointments and receive treatments at specialist centres - with the distance being 60 miles on average. Around one in five was not aware of this distance.

Lorraine Clifton, CLIC Sargent's chief executive, says it appears that "many people simply do not know that children get cancer".

She says such a diagnosis and resulting treatment - that in some cases can continue for up to three years - can have a devastating impact, often leaving families feeling "overwhelmed" at the "emotional, practical and financial implications" needed to be considered.

Which is why measures such as pre-existing medical travel insurance can offer some peace of mind before holidaying with a child suffering from a long-term illness.

Financial implications can amount to an extra £4,400 a year needed to be factored in to family budgets, though more than a third - 34% - were unable to predict this.

However, the majority of the 2,128 adults surveyed - 85% - agreed that families affected by cancer should have access to financial support throughout the course of a child's treatment.

And furthermore, a similar proportion thought emotional support should be available to families for the same length of time, with 79% saying this should be extended to give a child and their parents access to trained professionals for as long as they wish.

September marks the start of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

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