[fancy_header type=”3″]Pediatric Cancer Facts[/fancy_header]
Every day about 45 children are diagnosed with cancer around the country. Nearly 2000 of them will die each year. Over 150 thousand life-years are lost annually to this disease that knows no geographic boundaries, no socio-economic bias, and no lifestyle discrimination. In fact, the only risk factor for getting cancer as a child is—being a child.
Lots of money goes into cancer research and support for cancer victims; but only a tiny fraction of that goes towards pediatric cancer. Of the estimated $5.6 billion of funding allocated by the National Cancer Institute in 2009, for example, only $180 million (3.2%) of it went towards pediatric cancer. By 2012, the latest year for which statistics are currently available, $208 million of the $5,249,410,000 NCI budget was allocated to pediatric cancers, or 3.9%. And there are sources who believe a more accurate estimate of the portion that directly benefits childhood cancer to be only $50 million (less than 1%).
The American Cancer Society, which has done some wonderful things in the national fight against cancer, directed $23,559,000 (2.4%) of their $970 million of annual revenue in 2013 to support research for childhood cancer. This is simply not enough money to fight such a complicated disease that afflicts our children in such a multi-faceted manner.
One of the most pressing problems with childhood cancer is that childhood cancer is not just one disease. There are many different types and many more subtypes, each one requiring specific and unique research to develop the best method of treatment.
While we have (very thankfully) been successful at treating certain types of pediatric cancer—thanks to increased awareness and a modicum of funding—the success rates for many of the other types of pediatric cancer are not good. These rarer types of childhood cancer are not so rare when viewed as a whole, as together they account for a good portion of all childhood cancers. Because so few children are diagnosed with these specific rarer types, little research is done on each one separately.
Further, even for those childhood cancers with relatively high 5-year survival rates, it is estimated that up to 80% of childhood cancer victims will suffer from a serious, or fatal, complication from the treatment they underwent as a child.
A sort of “vicious circle” therefore exists with respect to most types of pediatric cancer: They are rare enough that little awareness exists and very little or no research is being done; therefore no new drugs or therapies are developed; therefore children affected by some of these types of cancers are sentenced to almost certain death. No child should ever have to face that kind of future. We hope Sam’s Foundation will be able to make a positive impact on some of these rarer types of children’s cancer and also reduce the risks of relapses, secondary cancers and health complications from current treatment plans.
[background_section_color bg_color=”#abc9f2″ color=”#333333″]Our organization wants to break the vicious circle and instead start a “virtuous circle”, where awareness leads to funding which leads to research and ultimately cures for our children.[/background_section_color]