Childhood cancer is relatively uncommon. However, it remains the most common disease-related cause of death – more than asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis and AIDS combined. It is second only to injury-related deaths among Canadian children.” ~ Canadian Cancer Society
September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. It provides an opportunity to raise public awareness around the unique challenges. Cancer in children behaves differently. The tumours grow and spread more quickly than cancer in adults than adults.
For some pediatric patients with blood cancers, a hematopoietic stem cell transplant may provide the best treatment option. Medical research has shown that umbilical cord blood is a rich source of hematopoietic stem cells, which can develop into various types of blood cells, and can be used for stem cell transplant in treating childhood cancer.
The first step in treating the cancer with a cord blood transplant is finding a match between the donor’s stem cell and the recipient. Cord blood stem cells don’t require a perfect match and there is a 50% chance of a match between siblings and even a possible match with extended family members. Family or private cord blood banks provide quick and easy access for prompt treatment.
The first umbilical cord blood stem cell transplant was performed on October 6th, 1988, and since then there has been over 30,000 transplants performed worldwide. Currently cord blood stem cells treat over 80 diseases in both children and adults with ongoing clinical research in the potential of using stem cells for therapy in an ever-growing list of diseases and disorders.
Learn more about Childhood Cancer Awareness Month by visiting the Canadian Society of Cancer or the Gold Ribbon Campaign.
If you would like to learn more about cord blood banking please attend a Group Information Session held in a city near you, or attend a Webinar. Presented by a registered nurse, you will be provided with all of the information needed to make the best decision for your family.