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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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0 thoughts to “Childhood Cancer Survival Rates Improve as Cancer Treatments Become Gentler

  • youarethecurecampaign

    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

    Reply
    • LFCT

      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 🙂

      Reply

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