FREDERICTON (GNB) – September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

“I ask all New Brunswickers to join me in acknowledging the families affected by childhood cancer,” said Health Minister Victor Boudreau. “On average, 30 new cases of childhood cancer are diagnosed each year in the province. And while survival rates are going up, the disease has a significant impact on a child’s personal health and greatly affects their family.”

Leukemia, lymphoma, brain and soft tissue cancers represent the majority of cancers diagnosed in New Brunswick children and adolescents.

The five-year survival rate for all childhood cancers has increased from less than 50 per cent to more than 80 per cent over the past several decades thanks to advancements in treatment. As a result, there are more long-term survivors. Of this group, about two-thirds have at least one chronic health effect due to their treatment which requires long-term follow-up care.

The provincial government reminds New Brunswickers that two pediatric oncology navigators, one at each regional health authority, are available to help families navigate the health-care system. They link families to local resources, provide information about prescribed treatments and their effects, assist with travel and accommodations, and help family members understand the child or teen’s cancer with educational resources.

Health-care providers and family members can contact navigators by calling Horizon Health Network at 506-432-3262 or Vitalité Health Network at 506-862-7516.