Childhood cancer isn’t a pretty picture, and each year more than 40,000 children in the U.S. undergo cancer treatment. The mother of one such child took a photo of her son dealing with the side effects of his treatment. The photo, which has recently gone viral, captures the raw and agonizing reality that is childhood cancer.

The photo is of Drake, a 10-year old boy currently undergoing treatment for leukemia. Barely more than skin and bones, Drake is wearing a pull-up because, according to his mother, 75 percent of the time he can’t control his bathroom habits. In the photo we can see the child is leaning against his bathroom counter, in obvious pain from his cancer treatment.

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According to the American Cancer Society, leukemia is the most common cancer in children and teens, accounting for as many as one in three cancers among this age group. While we are familiar with the many lifestyle choices associated with increased cancer risk among adults, such as tobacco use and excess weight, these are not the case in childhood cancers. Unfortunately, the risk factors for childhood leukemia remain largely unknown. Only a few genetic risks have been identified, and even these account for only a very small handful of cases.

In the post, Drake’s mother, who remains unnamed, describes the daily life of her sick son. This includes having to be carried to the toilet, being too exhausted to get out of bed, and having to use morphine to get through his day.

Due to the strength of resilience of childhood, childhood cancers are beatable. According to CureSearch, there are around 375,000 adult childhood cancer survivors living in the U.S. at any given time. Still, the consequences of childhood cancer do often last a lifetime, with around 60 percent of children who survive cancer facing late-effects such as infertility and secondary cancers.

For more information on Drake and his childhood cancer journey, check out his Facebook page, Stinky Joe's #1 Pit Crew.

See Also:

Leukemia Treatment Breakthrough: Previously Untested Cell Therapy Saves Baby With 'Incurable' Cancer

Reproductive Technology Linked To Birth Defects, Childhood Leukemia