New Jersey Names This Week Teen Cancer Awareness Week

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New Jersey may be getting a bad rep from shows like 'Jersey Shore,' but there is one way the state's leading by example.

Teens seem to totally dig supporting cancer awareness. They like to do things for charities and wear objects that show their support. Look at how famous those "I <3 Boobies" bracelets have become! But what happens when you are a teen who has cancer?

"Teen cancer does not get a lot of attention and that's why Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation last month recognizing the third week in January each year as teen cancer awareness week," said Health and Senior Services Commissioner Dr. Poonam Alaigh.
Each year, approximately 124 Jersey teens between 15 and 19 are diagnosed with cancer. Teen Cancer Awareness Week was started by the Alicia Rose "Victorious" Foundation, an organization founded in memory of 17-year-old Alicia Rose DiNatale who lost her 13-month battle with cancer.

The Cancer Institute of New Jersey recognizes the unique challenges teen cancer patients face that differ from younger patients. Founded in 2005, CINJ's teen lounge includes laptops, a video game console, movies, and more.

CINJ Director Dr. Robert S. DiPaola explains, "Giving teenagers a place of their own to talk and interact helps improve their well-being while they undergo cancer treatment. By recognizing Teen Cancer Awareness Week, we are all reminded of the unique needs for cancer prevention, research, education and care for this population."

The commissioner reminds everyone that "early detection ensures early treatment and improves survival rates. Teen Cancer Awareness Week will serve as a reminder to parents that adolescents need annual checkups."

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