I just conducted a very interesting childhood cancer experiment. I Googled “Childhood Cancer News.” The results I found are puzzling, and frankly disturbing.
The first article I found is dated October 11, 2006. Yes, really. Let’s see… nearly five years have passed, but this is listed at the top:
If you do read this article, notice that it mentions Dr. Anna Meadows… the doctor I have written of before, telling how much I admire the work she has done in the area of childhood cancer survivorship. As more children are “cured” of cancer, this area of childhood cancer survivorship and quality of life issues will become something health care professionals must address.
“Today 80 percent of children with cancer become long-term survivors.”
“By the time survivors are 30 years out from their cancer diagnosis, however, almost 75 percent of them have a chronic health problem and 42 percent die or have severe life-threatening conditions.”
Hmm…. a little unsettling, no?
I love what Les Robison has to say:
“The No. 1 lesson is that we have to pay attention to long-term consequences,” said Les Robison, chair of epidemiology and cancer control at St. Jude.”
We desperately need less toxic therapies that will still assure a cure, but won’t leave permanent damage. Still, nearly five years after this article appeared in print, it is “current” news for childhood cancer.
Really? Really, really?
Drug manufacturers cannot find a way to profit from the development of new, less-toxic treatments for childhood cancers… if they cannot profit from it, why would they ever do it? Instead, they stick to the development of new therapies for adult cancers that they can make huge profits from.
Arms Wide Open Foundation, established by Dena and Billy Sherwood, is on a mission to change this. There is even pending legislation that will hopefully encourage companies to take the plunge into helping children with cancer with incentives.
I can think of forty-six “Incentives” —the number of children diagnosed with cancer in the United States every school day.
I can think of seven more “Incentives”—the number of children who die from cancer each day in the United States.
A child’s life is worth so much more than “Incentives.”