September 11, 2018

September is Childhood and Youth Cancer Awareness Month

Rural and Remote Health Minister Greg Ottenbreit joined with parents and youth at a flag-raising ceremony at the Legislative Building this afternoon to mark Childhood and Youth Cancer Awareness Month in September.

“As the parent of a child lost to cancer, along with my own recent, personal experience fighting the disease, I know what the effects of this illness can be, not only on the patient, but also on family, friends, and loved ones,” Ottenbreit said.  “Recognizing September as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is an important step in improving the quality of care for patients, and ultimately, finding a cure.  I want to thank everyone, from health care professionals to advocates, who have championed this important cause.”

Parents and youth raised a childhood cancer awareness flag, and spoke of the effects that childhood cancer has had on their families, along with the continued need for prevention and treatment.

The Ministry of Health has proclaimed September as Childhood and Youth Cancer Awareness Month, which will be observed each year in recognition of the impact that cancer has on the lives of children, youth and families across Saskatchewan.

“It is important for the community to remember that kids get cancer, too,” Regina childhood Cancer Awareness Advocate Sherri Melnychuk said.  “The gold ribbon worn during Childhood Cancer Awareness month helps raise awareness of childhood cancer, as children are more precious than gold.  We owe it to the children to support childhood cancer research, more effective treatments, and improved quality of care.”

Sherri Melnyhcuck is the Regina representative of Small But Mighty, an organization that helps raise awareness of childhood cancer.  The Melnychuks lost their four-year-old daughter Ava Hope to acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in 2011.

The number of new pediatric patients seen provincially at Saskatchewan’s two cancer centres typically ranges from 40 to 60 each year.  Pediatric oncologists, nurses, social workers, and support staff work together to provide high-quality care to ensure the best possible outcomes.

In Canada today, approximately 83 per cent of children diagnosed with cancer will survive.