Childhood Cancer is Cureable in your Lifetime

The term ‘cancer research’ can be amorphous.  It certainly has a positive connotation.  It suggests commitment and progress toward a worthwhile goal.  Being amorphous though, it’s hard to get your arms around it.  It’s tough, especially for lay people, to understand the nature and scope of the research.  Moreover, it’s tough to hold it accountable.

Donating to a cause for cancer research should not entail a leap of faith – faith that your donation will be used in a way that delivers results – for the children.  Unfortunately, research efforts for cancer research have gotten the short end of the stick.

Less than 2% of federal funding for cancer research is directed at solving cancers that impact our children.  Childhood cancer is a different disease than adult cancer.  The drugs and treatments developed for adult cancers are not necessarily applicable to children.  They should be.

Let’s look at some statistics.
•    Nearly 30% of the U.S. population is under the age of 20
•    In this age group, 12,400 are diagnosed with cancer each year
•    One in 300 boys will develop cancer before the age of 20
•    One in 333 girls will develop cancer before the age of 20
•    The incidence for cancer is greater among white children than for children on all other ethnic groups
•    Incidence of childhood cancer peaks in the first year of life
•    Incidence is higher for children under five and for those ages 15-19 (lower for ages 5-14)
•    Cancer is the most common disease-related cause of death for ages one to twenty

The good news is that progress is being made.  Over the past ten years, the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) has reported:

  • Decreased childhood cancer mortality by 25%.
  • Improved survival of acute lymphoblastic leukemia from 70% to 80%.
  • Improved survival of acute non-lymphoblastic leukemia from 35% to 50%.
  • Improved survival of the most common form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma from 70% to 90%.
  • Improved survival of widespread childhood neuroblastoma from 10% to 45%.
  • Reduced by 50% or more the need for radiation therapy for the following groups of patients, thereby reducing risks of long-term effects of radiotherapy:
    • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia,
    • Infants under 3 years of age with brain tumors, and
    • Adolescent females with Hodgkins disease.
  • Established efficacy of 8 new anti-cancer agents and combinations of such agents for the first time in pediatric cancers.
  • Shortened the treatment time for the most common form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease, and all forms of childhood acute non-lymphoblastic leukemia by 30%-50%.
  • Successfully evaluated several agents that reduce the side effects of pediatric cancer treatment (i.e. G-CSF, Dexrazoxane).
  • Published recommendations for long-term follow-up care for all cancers of children and adolescents.
  • Established the first broad effort to develop and evaluate treatments for cancers common to adolescents and young adults, and demonstrated the superiority of pediatric treatment protocols over adult treatment protocols for several cancers of young adults.

While the progress over the past ten years is motivating, there is so much left to be done.  You can see from the tremendous progress that a cure for childhood cancer is achievable within our lifetime.  More importantly, a cure for childhood cancer is achievable in YOUR lifetime.
Please invest in the cure.  Your donation will generate results.

Don Campbell
President/CEO, Virtual Management Technologies
CURE Childhood Cancer Board Member

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Filed under Childhood Cancer, Research, Support CURE

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