PARENTS of children who lost their battle with cancer are calling for greater awareness and research as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is held around the country.
According to Children with Cancer, which organises the awareness month, there are around 1,600 new cases of childhood cancer diagnosed every year in the UK in children aged up to 14-years-old.
This means that around one child in 500 will develop some form of cancer by the age of 14.
Although some cancers are rare in children, such as liver and breast cancer, types such as forms of leukaemia, brain and spinal tumours are more common.
South Essex is home to a number of charities for children with cancer, which aim to help those who have cancer and their families and also raise awareness about the signs and symptoms of the types of cancer.
The Indee Rose Trust, based on Canvey, was set up in memory of island youngster Indee Rose who died in June 2009, after spending five months fighting an aggressive brain tumour.
Her mum Jane Allen, from Canvey, said brain cancer in children is one of the least researched and worst funded types of cancer and she wants to see more done to counter this.
“There has been no progress in research over the last 70 years for this type of cancer.
“It’s frustrating for us that we have not seen any progress over the years in brain tumour treatment and awareness.”
Jane added it was vital the signs and symptoms of brain tumours were more widely publicised so more youngsters could be diagnosed earlier, improving their chance of survival.
She said: “Indee’s symptoms were like that of a stroke - her right side dropped.
“To think your child has had a stroke is bad enough but to find out it’s cancer, words cannot describe that feeling.
“Sometimes people can think it’s just a virus when it’s so much more serious.”
Ms Allen said that more awareness is also needed for medial professionals who can at times misdiagnose cancer in children, delaying their treatment.
Other charities that support children with cancer in south Essex include the Danny Green Fund.
The fund was launched in July 2012 in memory of 11 year-old Danny Green, who died after losing his battle with brain and spinal cancer.
The charity, set up by his family, aims to support youngsters battling posterior fossa syndrome, a neurological condition which can occur after brain tumour surgery.
Visit childrenwithcancer.org.uk for more information about the week and how to support it, as well as guidance and advice for those affected by cancer.