Help is Needed to Tackle Childhood Cancers and Improve Survivorship

Each year, over 15,000 kids and young adults are diagnosed with cancer—that’s about 42 per day.

Though the 5-year-survival rate for childhood cancers has reached over 80 percent, nearly 2,000 kids under age 19 are taken from us each year – this makes cancer the leading killer of children by disease.

And that’s just in the United States. In 2016, over 300,000 kids and young adults were diagnosed worldwide.

Today is National Tackle Kids Cancer Day, originally established by the Children’s Cancer Institute at Hackensack University Medical Center as a day to raise awareness about the challenges and make it possible for everyone to be part of the cure by raising funds for pediatric cancer research.  National Tackle Kids Cancer Day supports the innovative research and patient care programs at CCI and its efforts to pioneer over a dozen clinical trials to treat aggressive types of pediatric cancer.  Additionally, Tackle Kids Cancer funds the Cure and Beyond Program – one of the handful survivorship programs for pediatric cancer survivors in the country.

Cancer in Little Ones is a BIG problem:

Children’s cancer cannot be treated exactly like adult cancers, where most of federal research funding goes.  Current treatments are devastatingly toxic, affect a child’s development and are often decades old.

  • To treat childhood cancer in the best way possible, we need to create specialized treatments just for kids, yet only 4% of all federal cancer funds go to pediatric care and research.
  • The causes of childhood cancer are largely unknown. We need to study what causes childhood cancer to understand what treatments work best.
  • Many childhood cancer survivors in the U.S. suffer from lifelong damage to their organs, mental health and more. We must understand how treatments affect kids long-term and discover methods to prevent late effects.

Post-Treatment and Survivorship Research

Childhood cancer leaves a lasting impact on children and their families. Even after treatment ends, ongoing effects of cancer treatment may pose challenges for survivors. Children and young adults, along with their families, may experience significant changes to their lifestyle.

As researchers continuously work to increase the survivorship rates for childhood cancer, they’re also studying ways to improve the health and well-being of survivors after the cancer has been treated.

Today, there are an estimated 15.5 million childhood cancer survivors in the U.S. and survivorship research is more important than ever.

Late and Lasting Effects

Toxic cancer treatments often cause lasting effects on a child’s body. These effects can last months or years after treatment ends.

Effects will vary depending on the type of cancer and form of treatment a child receives.  A few common late effects may include:

  • Memory or hearing loss
  • Learning disabilities
  • Nerve damage, pain and weakness
  • Stunted bone growth
  • Secondary cancers
  • More cavities or loss of teeth
  • Heart damage
  • Delayed or early puberty and infertility
  • Depression and anxiety

Health Care After Cancer

Survivors should create a plan with their care team to help them practice a healthy lifestyle and cope with any possible late effects that they may experience. Regular follow up appointments with a care team are critical to monitoring late effects and the long-term health of childhood cancer survivors. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is especially important for survivors.

Children’s Cancer Research Fund supports ongoing research to help understand survivorship. Each year, they help to underwrite the Survivorship Conference, held by the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota. This initiative gets cancer survivors together to talk about common experiences they face. Panel discussions, researcher presentations and keynote speakers are just a few elements offered at the Survivorship Conference.

About Tackle Kids Cancer

Tackle Kids Cancer is a philanthropic initiative of the Children’s Cancer Institute at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center dedicated to finding a cure for pediatric cancer.  Funds raised support pediatric cancer research and innovative patient services.

Pediatric cancer is the number one cause of death by disease in children. The Children’s Cancer Institute is the only center conducting bone marrow transplants and the only site for the new immunotherapy CAR-T treatment in New Jersey. The Children’s Cancer Institute provides a growing research program, including pioneering work in neuro-oncology, and is home to Cure and Beyond, a pediatric cancer survivorship program, providing services and medical support for pediatric cancer survivors.

Community supporters and corporate partners are dedicated to supporting the essential work toward a cure for pediatric cancer. To date, Tackle Kids Cancer has raised more than $5 million to support its mission. For additional information, please visit TackleKidsCancer.org

Get Connected

Everyday, you can find physicians in your area who are looking for new and unique ways to connect and collaborate with you on your care and the wellness of your family.  You might find them in HealthLynked – the first of its kind social ecosystem designed to truly allow patients and physicians to engage online in ways never before possible.

If you are enduring the challenges of Childhood Cancer, or any other disease, find strength and real connectedness by getting Lynked.  Go to HealthLynked.com to sign up for free and start taking control of your family’s health.

Adapted from:

childrenscancer.org

tacklekidscancer.org