Tag Archives: leukemia

School suspends cancer survivor teen over hair he plans to donate

School suspends cancer survivor teen over hair he plans to donate

By Eric Pfeiffer

A Michigan teen who survived a bout with leukemia has been suspended from school over the length of his long hair, which he is planning to donate.

The Detroit News reports that 17-year-old J.T. Gaskins has been growing out his hair since last summer in order to donate it to the Locks of Love charity. Gaskins said he was inspired to make the donation after learning that the sister of a family friend was diagnosed with cancer.

Gaskins was diagnosed with leukemia when he was just a year old and has been in remission since he was seven. “I fought cancer my entire life. I’m going to keep fighting this,” Gaskins told the Detroit News. “I’m not going to not give back just because my school says no.”

The Madison Academy in Burton says Gaskins’ suspension has more to do with the unkempt style of his hair, rather than its length. The school’s student handbook requires that boys’ hair be, “clean, neat, free of unnatural or distracting colors, off the collar, off the ears and out of the eyes.”

Gaskins says Locks of Love requires a 10 inch ponytail for a donation and that his hair is currently only 2 ½ inches long.

Locks of Love Communications Director Lauren Kukkamaa says that while they respect Gaskins’ effort, they’d like to see him back in school.

“There are so many ways to support Locks of Love, and we are truly grateful for all of those efforts and this young man and his desire to give back,” Kukkamaa said. “But certainly, we understand the school has its reasons for having certain policies in place.”

Gaskins is also being encouraged by his mother Christa Plante, who says she supports her son’s efforts “100 percent.” Plante launched an online petition at Change.org for her son, which has received about 4,700 signatures so far.

“He’s seen how it works and how it helped people, how it helped us,” she said. “This is for him. He wants to do it now. This feels right,” she said.

The petition asks the school to change their policy, allowing students to grow their hair for the Locks of Love charity. The new policy would require a student to sign a promissory note, research the respective cause they wish to support and to keep their hair “well-maintained” until the donation is made.

“I’m fighting for them to make it an option for kids to grow out their hair for Locks of Love, to make it a part of the school and raise awareness for all cancer charities out there that can help patients,” Gaskins said. “It wouldn’t be a change to where people find a loophole just to grow out their hair.”

“I’m fine with all of their rules,” Gaskins said. “I just think that with this, they could try to make a compromise.”

SOURCE

Cancer: 7.5 Million Strong………….and growing.

World cancer toll is on the rise, says research

Sarah Boseley
The Guardian

At least 12.6 million people are diagnosed with cancer around the world every year, and more than 7.5 million die of the disease – a toll that is steadily rising in every country as the population expands and people live longer, according to research by the World Health Organisation.

Cancer was the cause of 14% of all deaths around the world in 2008, the year for which there are the most recent comprehensive figures, but the rates varied enormously from one region to another, from 5% in Africa to 21% in the western Pacific. More than a quarter of all deaths in the UK – 27% – were from cancer.

Cancer Research UK (Cruk) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), an arm of the World Health Organisation, are releasing their report as the first United Nations summit opens in New York on tackling the killer diseases that every nation is now having to confront: heart and lung diseases, diabetes and cancer.

These so-called “non-communicable diseases”, which have all taken off as sedentary lifestyles, junk food, smoking and drinking have spread around the planet, are already a massive burden on rich countries and are steadily becoming one in poorer countries, too.

Cruk has high hopes of the summit, which is intended to focus the attention of government leaders on ways of preventing as well as treating the new scourge. “While it is clear that tackling cancer worldwide will remain one of the major challenges in the 21st century, this high-level meeting will finally put cancer on the global agenda, providing the biggest and best opportunity to drive forward major changes in this area,” says its report.

Worldwide, men are more likely to get cancer than women – 204 out of every 100,000 men and 165 per 100,000 women got cancer in 2008, according to age-standardised data. The incidence rate is rising fast in the developing world but is still markedly lower in Africa, where 88 per 100,000 people got cancer, than in North America and western Europe, where 334 and 335 people respectively per 100,000 were diagnosed.

Data is not well collected or kept in most developing countries, but the younger age of the population and different diets and lifestyles play a big part. The highest incidence among men in the world was in France and Australia, which had 361 cases per 100,000. Among women, it was Denmark, with 325 per 100,000. The UK rate was 33rd highest among men and 12th for women.

Four common cancers are responsible for 45% of the death toll, says the report – lung cancer, which is the biggest killer among men, liver, stomach and colorectum. In the UK, the biggest killers are lung, colorectum, breast and prostate.

For several decades, lung cancer has been the most common cancer in the world. In 2008, there were 1.6m diagnoses and the largest proportion – 55% – is now in the developing world, where public smoking bans and advertising restrictions generally do not apply.

The declaration to be signed at the end of the UN meeting will call on governments to take action against tobacco marketing. About a quarter of all adults in the world – more than 1 billion people – are thought to smoke. In Europe, male smoking has peaked, but the habit is still on the increase among young women and girls. The UK has the seventh highest lung cancer rate in women among 184 countries with reliable statistics in the world.

Breast cancer is by far the most common cancer among women, with 1.38mdiagnoses in 2008, which is a quarter of the total for women. It affects a larger proportion of women in wealthy countries, although the developing countries have high numbers and it is a growing problem there.

Reproductive behaviour – having fewer children and postponing childbearing, and breastfeeding less – as well as weight, lack of exercise and drinking are all thought to be factors in the rise in cases. Breast cancer is the most common cause of death among women worldwide.

Cervical cancer hits developing countries hardest as screening, vaccination and treatment bring the numbers down in the richer world. More than eight out of 10 cases (86%) are now in the developing world, and 88% of the 275,000 deaths. The UK death rate is low, ranked 157th out of 184 countries on mortality rates.

SOURCE