Childhood Cancer Survival Rates Improve as Cancer Treatments Become Gentler


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Radiation and chemotherapy have saved countless children from leukaemia and other types of cancer, but some of these treatments can damage the heart or other organs, problems that prove fatal years later.

infusIn the 1990s, a push began to try to prevent these “late effects” by giving smaller, more targeted doses of radiation, avoiding certain drugs and changing the way chemo is given. Doctors were worried however whether these gentler treatments would hurt a child’s survival odds…

The move to make cancer treatments gentler for children has paid a double dividend: New research shows that more children are surviving than ever before, and without the long-term complications that doomed many of their peers a generation ago.

The new study, which tracked more than 34,000 Childhood Cancer Survivors over several decades, states that survival continued to improve, even with scaled-back treatments. And fewer children died from second cancers or heart or lung problems 15 years after their initial treatment ended.

Dr. Greg Armstrong of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, who leads the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study, funded by the National Cancer Institute, says:

The field needs good news” and this study gives it. We have actually reduced treatment, reduced therapy,” and yet improved survival.

Treating childhood cancer is “one of the miracles of modern medicine,” Armstrong said. “Fifty years ago less than 30% of kids would survive childhood cancer but now we know that over 80% will.”

Researchers found that the death rate 15 years after treatment ended kept declining, from about 12% for those treated from 1970-74 to 6% for those treated from 1990-94. Deaths from late effects of cancer treatment, such as heart problems, also declined over that period, from 3.5% to 2.1%.

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While we are all very pleased by the above information, the end-goal should still be to avoid scenes like depicted in the photo above – we need to find alternate treatments for Childhood Cancer so that children do not have to go through THIS!!

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About LFCT

This is a blog about CHILDHOOD CANCER and CHILDHOOD CANCER AWARENESS Little Fighters Cancer Trust is a non-profit organisation that offers support and aid to Children with Cancer and their families. When a child is diagnosed with cancer it affects the whole family. One of the parents, usually the mother, must give up their job to care for the child and this creates financial problems for the family. In South Africa especially the majority of these families are not well-to-do; many of them are rural. A diagnosis of cancer can wipe out any family’s finances, let alone a poor family. The costs of special medications, special diets, hospital stays, transport to and from the hospital or clinic and accommodation and food costs for the mother who spends most of the time at her child’s bedside are astronomical. These are the people and problems that fall through the cracks, and these are the people that Little Fighters Cancer Trust has pledged to help in any way possible. LFCT takes a holistic approach to assisting the Children with Cancer and their Families, with the main aim to be the preservation of individual dignity and pride. Little Fighters Cancer Trust also focuses on promotion and advocacy of National Childhood Cancer Awareness in an effort to increase awareness of Early Warning Signs of Childhood Cancer. This would result in earlier diagnosis, giving the Child with Cancer more of a chance at Treatment and Survival. See "About" for more Background info

Posted on 28 October, 2015, in Blog, Research and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. It’s always so grateful to know that survival rates are rising and treatments are improving. This means that people are getting more and more stronger and we should all believe that we can fight the disease and save the children from suffering.

    A. So

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    • Yes, it is great and progress is being made, but we still need to campaign more for Childhood Cancer Awareness so that children are diagnosed earlier as well as to get governments and big corporations to fund more research 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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