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Public Papers - 1991

Proclamation 6324 -- National Awareness Month for Children With Cancer, 1991

1991-08-20

By the President of the United States

of America

A Proclamation

Our Nation's fight against cancer has advanced on many fronts, from education and prevention to diagnosis and treatment. This month, we celebrate the remarkable progress that has been made in saving children with cancer.

The Department of Health and Human Services reports that, thanks to important scientific breakthroughs, the mortality rate for childhood cancer has dropped by more than 50 percent since 1950. This dramatic decline has been made possible by improved diagnostic and prognostic techniques, by advances in technology, and by advances in the treatment of serious forms of cancer such as leukemia and Wilm's tumor. For example, long-term research has enabled physicians to predict with greater success which patients are most likely to suffer a relapse -- thereby helping the health care team to plan the optimal course of therapy.

As a result of such progress, more than 70 percent of the children who were diagnosed in the 1980s as having acute lymphocytic leukemia have sustained long-term remission and can be considered cured. This is an incredible improvement when compared to the fact that, during the early 1960s, only about 4 percent of leukemia patients survived the disease.

More than a tale of medical progress, however, the story of childhood cancer also reveals the strength and the resilience of the human spirit. Children with cancer have consistently inspired others through their courage and determination. During National Awareness Month for Children with Cancer, we salute these brave youngsters and their parents, who share in their suffering and provide them with love and support, as well as the many scientists and researchers who are pressing on to new frontiers in the fight against this disease. We also gratefully recognize the pediatric oncology nurses, the social workers and clergy, and the many other professionals and volunteers who -- with great compassion and skill -- help young cancer victims and their families through difficult times.

Of course, while members of the National Cancer Institute and other, private research organizations have won key victories for children with cancer, we know that much work remains to be done. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, an estimated 7,800 American children will be diagnosed this year as having cancer. We will continue working together for their sake and for the sake of generations to come.

Now, Therefore, I, George Bush, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim September 1991 as National Awareness Month for Children with Cancer. I invite all Americans to join in observing this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of August, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and sixteenth.

George Bush

[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 4:45 p.m., August 21, 1991]

Note: The proclamation was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on August 21 and published in the Federal Register on August 23.

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