This exercise was not to take away from the doctors and researchers doing great work for our kids or to discourage anyone. I think it shows the REALITY of childhood cancer. IMHO childhood cancer is misrepresented when we talk about an 85% "cure" rate. And, I think that misrepresentation diminishes the perceived need for better treatments, which can then lead to truly tragic consequences when it comes to funding more research; which is the only way we'll finally fix this tragedy of childhood cancer.
Thank you to CAC2 Member Bob Piniewski of People Against Childhood Cancer (PAC2) for this important guest blog post.
"This essay analyzes some familiar childhood cancer statistics and attempts to draw them together in a holistic way to estimate the projected lifelong outcomes for a child diagnosed with childhood cancer in the United States today. By lifelong outcomes, we mean what may happen over that child’s entire life–not just today or in five years, but 10, 20 or 30 years from now (which is about as far as the data will let us project).
Why do this?
Children have their whole lives ahead of them, so life-long outcomes carry more weight and meaning than the commonly tracked and quoted '80-85% survival rate' that identifies that proportion of children still alive five years after their initial diagnosis. Children who die as a result of their cancer beyond this 5-year milestone, those who develop secondary instances of cancer, and those who experience chronic life-threatening health conditions caused by their cancer treatments are NOT accounted for in a five-year survival rate statistic.
The five-year survival rate is not enough because, we all want to plan for our child’s future. College. Marriage. Having kids of their own. We want our children to live and prosper for more than five years! No one is satisfied when a child diagnosed at age two lives just past age seven! Our goal can ONLY be that any child diagnosed with cancer lives a normal lifespan not struck short by premature death from being 'cured' or hampered by the burden of chronic health conditions."
Read the full post: