By: Amanda Termuhlen, M.D., medical director, Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Center, Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach  |  The news of a cancer diagnosis is never welcome, but may be even more unexpected and difficult when the disease is diagnosed in a child or young adult. Although cancer is much less common among children compared to older adults – each year, the parents of approximately 15,700 kids will hear the words “your child has cancer.” Across all ages, ethnic groups and socio-economics, this disease remains the No. 1 cause of death by disease in children.

Despite major advances – from an overall survival rate of 10 percent just 50 years ago to nearly 80 percent today – for many rare cancers, the survival rate is much lower. Furthermore, the number of diagnosed cases annually has not declined in nearly 20 years.

Researchers at the Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Center at Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach and many other pediatric cancer centers are makinggreat strides in the search for a cure. Major treatment advances in recent decades have resulted in more than 80 percent of children with cancer now surviving five years or more.

In fact, at the Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Center the cure rate for patients diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), the most common type of cancer in children is 90 percent. Although these are steps in the right direction, it is not enough until a cure is found.

As pediatric cancer doctors and researchers work toward finding a cure, improving treatment plans and survival rates, the need for awareness is necessary now, more than ever. If every person took the time to get involved, raise awareness and support research efforts for childhood cancers, the overall goal of finding a cure and decreasing the number of children affected will be met more quickly.

In honor of September being National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, the
Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Center team rallies to raise awareness of childhood cancers in our communities. This year there are many ways to get involved, both in the Long Beach area and in cities across the country.

Make a difference thisSeptember, join the Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Center to raise awareness, spread hope and go gold for kids with cancer by participating in the “Flames of Hope Project.” The community is invited to help “light up” the Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Center awareness torch with inspiring messages, which will be on display at Miller Children’s throughout September.

Show your support to patients battling cancer. Visit to print out your “Flame of Hope” and help raise awareness. For more information, call (562) 933-8600.