University goes for gold to support childhood cancer campaign

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

The University of Nottingham lit its iconic Trent Building gold in support of Childhood Cancer Awareness month.

Childhood Cancer Awareness month (CCAM) takes place every September to highlight the signs and symptoms, diagnosis and treatments for children’s cancers with the aim of raising awareness and funds.

The Trent Building was glowing gold on the evening of 16th September and joined iconic buildings across the region and UK who are lighting up gold during the month.

Research into Childhood Cancer is taking place at the University of Nottingham with Dr Shaarna Shanmugavadivel leading the Childhood Cancer Diagnosis Study to understand how cancer is diagnosed in children and young people across the UK.

The project aims to help researchers to understand the journey that children and young people experience from the start of their symptoms until they receive their diagnosis of cancer.

To do this, experts will collect information about what symptoms they experience, who they go to see with these symptoms initially, and how long it takes before the diagnosis is reached.

Dr Shanmugavadivel: “It’s fantastic that the University is supporting Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and lighting up gold. The misperception by the public and professionals that childhood cancer is rare means it is often not considered until the child has multiple symptoms at which point it is more likely to be at an advanced stage. Time is crucial; untreated, tumours grow bigger and can spread around the body requiring more extensive surgery and more intensive therapies to offer cure. Early diagnosis is therefore key and this is why raising awareness of the signs and symptoms through campaigns such as HeadSmart and undertaking research to understand diagnostic delays is vital to help ensure better survival and long-term outcomes for children.”

Jane Icke who works at the University of Nottingham is backing the CCAM campaign as her daughter Alice has been treated for cancer twice – kidney cancer in 2014, known as a Wilms tumour, which returned in her lung in 2015. Alice was treated at QMC and is now almost 5 years in remission.

Alice during her treatment for cancer.

Jane said: “It took repeated trips to the GP with various symptoms before we got a cancer diagnosis for Alice. Her symptoms could have been many childhood illnesses which made it difficult to spot initially and it wasn’t until we took her with a very swollen tummy that we were sent to hospital. Even then I never in a million years thought it could be cancer. Finding out your child has cancer is a devastating shock as are the treatments children face which are harsh and gruelling with many side effects. Alice had two major surgeries, countless rounds of chemotherapy which led to fevers and illness due to reduced immunity, blood transfusions and inevitable hospital stays. She also had radiotherapy and finally high dose chemo followed by a stem cell transplant. To improve children’s chances of survival and to reduce the long term side effects of treatment there needs to be better awareness around the signs and symptoms of cancer in children, which isn’t as rare as people think, and more funding for the development of kinder, more targeted treatments.”

Alice has now been in remission for almost 5 years

A number of Childhood Cancer charities are involved in CCAM fundraising activities including: CCLG, and Cancer Research UK

Story credits

More information is available from Jane Icke, Media Relations Manager for the Faculty of Science at the University of Nottingham, on +44 (0)115 951 5751,

Jane Icke - Media Relations Manager Science
Phone: 0115 7486462

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Notes to editors:

The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. Ranked 103rd out of more than 1,000 institutions globally and 18th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings 2022, the University’s state-of-the-art facilities and inclusive and disability sport provision is reflected in its crowning as The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021 Sports University of the Year. We are ranked eighth for research power in the UK according to REF 2014. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally. Alongside Nottingham Trent University, we lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, a pioneering collaboration which brings together the combined strength and civic missions of Nottingham’s two world-class universities and is working with local communities and partners to aid recovery and renewal following the COVID-19 pandemic.

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