A special message from Dr. Timothy Cripe, MD, PhD, Chief of the Division of Hematology, Oncology and Blood and Marrow Transplant at Nationwide Children's Hospital.
September is the month where we honor children and their families fighting pediatric cancer. Unfortunately, cancer is not limited to adults. In fact, cancer is the leading cause of death due to disease in children under age 15, with a new patient diagnosed about every half hour in the United States.
Cancer in children is different from cancer in adults. There are many types of cancer that children are more likely to have, such as neuroblastoma and rhabdomyosarcoma, and the treatments for these diseases differs from adult cancer therapy as well.
We are fortunate to have been successful in figuring out how to successfully treat some cancers like lymphoid leukemia, retinoblastoma (eye cancer), and Wilms tumor (kidney cancer), but our success rate is lower for many other cancer types. Even when we are successful with the other cancer types, patients often suffer long-term side effects of treatment. For these reasons, we need to continue to learn about childhood cancers by studying them in the laboratory and testing out new treatments in patients.
Most of the research budgets of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the pharmaceutical industry are directed toward adult cancer. In fact, only 4% of the NCI budget is solely dedicated to pediatric cancer research. We need continued support of private foundations and donors to sustain research and make the further and necessary advances in treating childhood cancer. I hope you'll consider making a gift today in the fight against pediatric cancer.
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