September Is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 12,400 U.S. children will be diagnosed with some form of cancer this year. About one in 300 boys and one in 333 girls will develop cancer before the age of 20. The statistics become even greater because there are so many health problems that come with the cancer diagnosis that are life long. Although cure rates are steadily improving, pediatric cancer remains the leading cause of death by disease in children under the age of 15, claiming approximately 3,000 young victims each year.

This month, families, medical and charitable organizations across the nation will shine a spotlight on the various types of childhood cancer and raise funds for research aimed at treating and finding a cure for this heartbreaking disease.

In May, the President's Cancer Panel released a comprehensive, strongly worded 240-page report that examined environmental causes of cancers. The Panel warned, "the true burden of environmentally induced cancers has been grossly underestimated" and advised the President to "use the power of your office to remove the carcinogens and other toxins from our food, water, and air that needlessly increase health care costs, cripple our nation's productivity, and devastate American lives."

The science is in and we don't need to wait for the President to do something about this.

Prevention is the best curePrevention should always be the focus of any health-care and parenting protocol. Minimizing the exposures that cause disease is much more effective, and less painful than treating the disease after the fact.

Here are a few tips you can incorporate into your family's daily life.

1. Switch out traditional cleaning products for non-toxic ones. o Visit for our line of Greening the Cleaning (r) household products, and healthy organic snacks.

2. Make healthy food choices.Eat whole foods as the bulk of your diet. Whole foods are unprocessed, unrefined and don't contain added ingredients. Choose organic whenever possible.

3. Consider integrative medicinewhen appropriate, which blends conventional medicine with complementary alternatives such as acupuncture, homeopathy,massage and reiki.

4. Educate your child,especially tweens and teens, on choosing healthy personal care products. Teens For Safe Cosmetics and my latest book, The Essential Green You! provide resources to help.

5. Get fresh air and exercise every day, which will lower chances of obesity, wards off stress, and naturally boosts Vitamin D levels.

6. Yearly Child Environmental Exposure Check Up I recommend your children get a yearly check up that includes a brief discussion of your child's potential exposures to environmental toxins in their environment at home, school, playground, sports, anywhere they spend a lot of time. This should also include a focus on your child's diet/food. These tests are usually a combination of urine and full blood work up that check levels of pesticide exposure; toxins such as cadmium, antimony, lead, mercury, aluminum, phthalates, BPA's; PCB's and also includes checking nutritional levels such as vitamin B, vitamin D3, iron, and zinc to make sure your child is optimized for detox/excretion. You can head off potential health problems if you know where your child's levels are at. For example, if your child has a low or deficient Vitamin D3 level then your pediatrician can recommend proper supplementation.

For more tips on healthy living

Deirdre Imus is the Founder and President of The Deirdre Imus Environmental Center for Pediatric Oncology (r) at Hackensack University Medical Center and Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Imus Cattle Ranch for Kids with Cancer. Deirdre is the author of four books, including three national bestsellers. She is a frequent speaker on green living and children's health issues, and is a contributor to For more information go to