For children in the U.S., cancer is the leading cause of death from disease. Worldwide, cancer has become so prevalent and devastating that some may use the phrase "like curing cancer" when describing something unfeasible or highly complicated. Yet in September, a team of more than 60 stakeholders and leaders in the health, science, business, policy and advocacy sectors collaborated to take a different, perhaps less flashy approach — preventing cancer, specifically by ending the use of toxic chemicals. Under the umbrella of the Childhood Cancer Prevention Initiative (CCPI), this collection of organizations published a report examining the impact of different cancer-causing chemicals and calling for a "national plan" to address the rising incidence of childhood cancer.
In 2020, an estimated 1,806,590 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. and 606,520 people will die from the disease, including an estimated 16,850 children and adolescents ages 0 to 19 being diagnosed and 1,730 children will die of the disease. Researchers estimate that only 10% of all childhood cancers come from hereditary factors, meaning the lion's share of childhood cancers come from environmental factors. To CCPI, this means 90% of all childhood cancer is preventable.
The authors of the report indicate that cancer charities and research organizations don't devote enough resources to prevention.
"The vast majority of childhood cancer research funding goes towards studies of childhood cancer treatment and survivorship, leaving only a small portion for the critical work on prevention," the report explains.