More children in the United States lose their life to cancer than to any other disease. For those who survive, two-thirds will also endure chronic health conditions from the toxic side effects of cancer treatment, including secondary cancers and other life-threatening illnesses.
Although substantial progress has been made in the treatment of several types of childhood cancer over the past 5 decades, progress against other types has been limited. Even when long-term survival is achieved, many survivors of childhood cancer may experience long-term adverse effects from the disease or its treatment. Clearly, more research is needed to develop new, more-effective, and safer treatments for childhood cancer.
There are over a dozen types of childhood cancers, and countless subtypes, making it more challenging for researchers to find cures for every kid.
Virtually all progress against cancer in both children and adults has its origins in basic research, often in areas that are not directly related to the disease.
Children have often had to accept medicines and treatments based on what is known to work in adults. To improve clinical care of children, more studies are needed focusing on children’s health with the goal to develop treatments, drugs, and devices specific to children.
So in addition to finding cures, a lot of research is focused on preventing the lifelong damage that results from surgeries, radiation and chemotherapies given while young bodies and brains are just developing.
Many of the pediatric cancer treatments used today were proven safe and effective through clinical trials in the past. Just as your child may benefit from the results of previous clinical trials, the results of current clinical trials may advance the care of children diagnosed with cancer now or in the future, leading to improved treatments with the possibility of fewer short- and long-term side effects.