Designates Third Week in January as “Teen Cancer Awareness Week”
TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Jim Beach (D-Camden) that establishes the third week in January of each year as “Teen Cancer Awareness Week” was signed into law today. The legislation, which was done in memory of Alicia Rose DiNatale, who died from a rare form of cancer at age 17, will help raise awareness of the challenges facing teens with cancer.
“The struggles facing teens dealing with cancer are unique from those of other age groups and they deserve more attention,” said Beach. “This recognition will shine more light on the difficulties teenagers inflicted with this awful disease must go through and how we can make it easier for them.”
While rare when compared to younger children, cancer remains the leading cause of death from disease among teenagers aged 15 to 19 years. Survival rates for teenagers and young adults with cancer also pale in comparison to those of younger children, partly due to the fact that while 40 percent of cancer patients age 14 and younger are enrolled in a clinical trial, only nine percent of teen cancer patients are in a similar treatment.
Teens living with cancer also have unique concerns about how the disease will affect their educations, social lives and body image, among other issues. Many adolescent cancer survivors also experience anxiety and, in some cases, increased learning difficulties when re-adjusting to school and social settings.
“I am appreciative of all those who helped get this legislation through and would encourage everyone to do what they can to help any child suffering from both the physical and psychological affects of cancer,” said Beach.