Updated: Sep 29
Research is critical in day to day life. From researching articles for basic news stories you find online, to researching the best type of mattress to buy, it occurs everywhere. In today's world, it's easy to get lost in reviews and other's opinions because the internet is just a click away.
But what about research for childhood cancer? The fact of the matter is truth by fact can change the way we view the world.
Cancer is the number one death by disease in children. That's right. Cancer among children is more common than we realize. According to the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation, every day 43 children will be diagnosed with cancer. Almost everyone has known a child who has battled this disease, yet 43 times a day, somewhere in America family and friends are shocked when they find out a child is diagnosed with cancer.
Not only is it important to fight childhood cancer to save lives, it's important to continue research and continue to fund research, because more than 95% of childhood cancer survivors will have to fight an effect from childhood cancer in their adult lives. Childhood cancer continues to inflict injury to those who are able to successfully fight it.
Only 4% of the entire cancer research applies to childhood cancer. Four. Percent. This is why so many families affected by this disease become advocates for their children and the disease. Their child's life is at stake and many childhood cancer treatments are methods that are 10+ years old. The main Leukemia treatments are the same ones that were used in the 90s. While to those of us who still rock overalls, Chucks, and listen to Madonna may not feel like it, that's over 30 years ago. In comparison, the National Cancer Institute's timeline of new cancer treatments has seven new adult cancer treatments listed since 2010. That's almost one new treatment every year.
Since there are fewer than 10 drugs created just for childhood cancer since 1980, many childhood cancer patients use cancer treatments that are created for adults, making dosing and treatment plans extremely important. Left with little options, doctors can sometimes struggle with what the best choice for the child.
Research helps us discover new methods, update current treatments, and expand medicine that children can get. Researchers understand the dire need to create medicine and treatment options that will cure different childhood cancers. As friends and family of those who are afflicted with childhood cancer, we owe it to our childhood hero's to continue to push for more research. This means lobbying for more money for research, supporting institutes and hospital that do research, and being aware of how much work really needs to happen.
When you're questioning how to help someone with cancer, don't deny the importance of advocating for them through contacting your representatives, donating blood, and donating extra money to different research institutions. Our children depend on us.