"4outof5" - a campaign by Childhood Cancer Switzerland
Your personal message to children with cancer
To raise public awareness of childhood cancer, Childhood Cancer Switzerland is launching a solidarity campaign on 1 September 2018 which incorporates an initiative to send a message of encouragement.
A diagnosis of cancer is a shock for the whole family, and the resulting battle against the disease is not just demanding in physical terms, but also often poses a considerable psychological burden. We want to let those affected by cancer know that they are not alone at this difficult time, and that lots of people are thinking of them.
Show you are involved and demonstrate your solidarity with children who have cancer by posting your personal message here on our website.
Childhood Cancer Switzerland will send a selection of the most beautiful messages to the specialist children's hospitals to encourage the children and adolescents as well as their parents and siblings.
These are the challenges of childhood cancer
With this solidarity campaign, Childhood Cancer Switzerland wants to raise awareness and to inform the general public of the difficulties faced by children and adolescents with cancer, survivors and their relatives.
- Even today, only 4 out of 5 children with cancer in Switzerland can be cured. This means that cancer is still the most common illness to cause death in childhood – only accidents claim a higher toll.
- Children and adolescents with cancer and their families face huge challenges during the treatment. The health-related and financial pressures are high. Often the patients are young children who desperately need their parents at their side during treatment, yet at the moment working mothers and fathers are not allowed to be off work for longer than 3 days. Many of them worry that they will lose their job because they need to take time off.
- The families also incur high additional costs for hospital visits, insurance excess charges, travel to hospital, meals away from home, childcare for siblings and psychosocial support, which are not covered by their insurance. There are also some medications that health insurers will not pay for.
- From a medical perspective, the biggest challenge in treating cancer is not only to heal the disease, but also to reduce the long-term physical and psychological side effects as much as possible.
- To give children and adolescents with cancer better chances of survival, we need specific research, clinical studies and new medicines developed especially for them.
- There is still is a lack of specific medical and psychosocial services for survivors to ensure that, as far as possible, they have equal personal, professional and economic opportunities despite their illness.
What can you specifically do to help?
To ensure as many people as possible find out about this campaign, children and adolescents with cancer need your support!
- Post your personal message to a child with cancer on our website (www.childhoodcancer.ch/your-wish) and share the site on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Linkedin, Xing, etc.)
- Use the following hashtags: #4outof5 #ThoughtsForAChild #ChildhoodCancerSwitzerland
- Share the video clip on social media – the more shares the better
- Invite your Facebook friends, family, work colleagues and sports associates to get involved in the campaign
Link to the video: youtu.be/uXW37_5ryQo
Research is crucial for children with cancer
Children and adolescents in Switzerland who have cancer are treated at nine specialist centres. The challenge is to minimise the long-term side effects of the therapy as far as possible. As the drugs used in the therapy have not been developed for children, clinical trials are needed to ensure that they are used in a scientifically controlled manner.
Specific research is also needed so that new therapies and medicines can be made available for cancers for which the cure rate is currently low or which have serious side effects. For this reason, Childhood Cancer Switzerland is represented in European research projects and lobbies for improvements in the medical care provided for children and adolescents with cancer.
Self help – Supporting affected families in everyday life
The diagnosis and treatment of cancer in children and adolescents is a stressful experience for everyone concerned. Children and adolescents with cancer spend months travelling between their home and hospital. During the treatment, the children and their parents are under a huge amount of strain, not just in terms of their health, but also financially and psychologically.
Parent organisations and foundations provide support for families, for example by paying for travel between home and the children's hospital, meals away from home, accommodation or childcare for siblings, or by organising events at which those affected can talk to others in a similar situation and recharge their batteries.
Childhood Cancer Switzerland is also involved in political issues, such as campaigning for paid care leave for parents, the financial support of families and the reimbursement of all medication costs by health insurance providers.
Follow-up care to ensure a good quality of life after cancer
Many people who had cancer in childhood continue to suffer as adults from the physical and psychological effects of the disease and its treatment. To ensure that children and adolescents whose cancer has been treated successfully can continue to enjoy a good quality of life in the longer term, an important aspect of optimising oncological therapy is reducing long-term complications.
There are many long-term complications of cancer treatment: amputations, growth disorders, cardiovascular diseases, disrupted hormones, infertility, cognitive impairment and an elevated risk of developing a second cancer. Survivors need targeted individual follow-up so that these complications can be identified at an early stage.
By launching the "Suivinet" internet platform and introducing the "Survivorship Passport" in Swiss children's hospitals, Childhood Cancer Switzerland has set benchmarks for improved information, counselling and networking of survivors and the establishment of systematic follow-up. We have partnered with the University of Lucerne to support a key scientific study on the specific needs of Swiss survivors. Childhood Cancer Switzerland also represents the interests of survivors within international bodies.
The sponsor of the campaign is the Childhood Cancer Switzerland umbrella organisation and its member organisations:
- Association romande des familles d’enfants atteints d’un cancer ARFEC
- Childhood Cancer Research Foundation Switzerland
- Kinderkrebshilfe Schweiz
- Swiss Childhood Cancer Registry
- Swiss Paediatric Oncology Group SPOG
- Stiftung für krebskranke Kinder, Regio Basiliensis