Battling cancer takes a lot out of a person’s health and overall well being. A new study shows that adults who have survived cancer during childhood feel older than their age, and generally have lower quality-of-life scores when it comes to health.
Dr. Lisa Diller, chief medical officer of Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, is the senior author on the study. She says, “Our findings indicate survivors’ accelerated aging, and also helps us understand the health-related risks associated with having had cancer as a child.” Diller adds, “What’s encouraging is that the lower quality-of-life scores are associated with chronic disease after treatment, not with a history of pediatric cancer itself.”
As per UPI’s report, the research team gathered data from pediatric cancer survivors in the USA. Overall quality-of-life scores in relation to health were found to be similar among the age demographics of 18-29 years old and 40 years old.
Patients who had experienced more chronic health problems after surviving cancer tended to have lower quality-of-life scores. Referencing another study on childhood cancer survivors, Diller and her team found that only 20% of 7,000 respondents had no chronic conditions.
Studies have shown that cancer survivors are at high risk for heart disease, other forms of cancer, infertility, lung problems, autoimmune diseases, and other similar chronic conditions. These risks are primarily associated with cancer treatment methods such as radiation, chemotherapy and surgery.
Diller goes on to explain that her team’s findings provide a concrete comparison between adults who have survived pediatric cancer and the general population, in terms of quality of life.
“A while ago, I wrote that “uncertainty is the refuge of hope”. The corollary to this is that certainty is the end of hope. Well, now we have certainty. Daniel will die from osteosarcoma, probably fairly quickly. Any hope I had after his relapse is gone.
In the five weeks since his surgery Daniel has grown a 3 cm inoperable tumor (inoperable due to location) and malignant pleural effusion (essentially liquid osteosarcoma) around one lung. There is also a suspicion of “several” tumors on his pleura, although this is not completely clear.
Sara and Daniel and I have had some horrible, difficult conversations. I know of no good way to tell a 13-year-old child who desperately wants to live that he is going to die. And I know of no good way to tell a 17-year-old about her brother’s impending death.
I have also had some horrific conversations with Daniel’s oncologist about the exact mechanics of how he will likely die, how much medical intervention to practice, and how much time he might have left and how to make this time as comfortable as possible given a disease which is brutally painful and savage. I signed my child up for hospice. I hope you never, ever go through these conversations or experiences.
Daniel, Sara and I are figuring out right now how to go through this period. Prayers, good thoughts and wishes are all appreciated. We will figure out how to let everyone know how you can help if you’d like, and how we will be taking visitors. Please give us some space and time to figure this out — something which should never need to be figured out. Be gentle with us as we walk down this deeply lonely and desperately grieving path which I would not wish on any family.
And please understand that I do not wish to hear that Daniel will be in a better place (what better place is there than home with his sister and mother who love him deeply?), I do not wish to hear that at least his suffering will be over (my child — no child — should suffer this way), I do not wish to hear that God gives his biggest battles to his strongest soldiers (my child is not a soldier — he is a child) or anything similar. Daniel will not be gaining his angel wings. Daniel will die. The end. His heart will stop pumping, his lungs will stop working and his brain will stop processing. He will die. My beautiful, courageous, insightful, loving child will die. And his sister and I will grieve his loss for the rest of our lives. We will love him forever and remember him forever. I will always be the mother of two beautiful, wonderful children. And Sara will always have a younger brother.
And please remember that Daniel will die because we, as a society, do not deem the leading cause of death by disease for our children something worthy of reducing. We are “OK” with the fact that had Daniel been diagnosed 30 years ago with osteosarcoma (the most commonly occurring primary bone cancer which primarily affects children and young adults), the drugs he received and his entire treatment would have been EXACTLY the same, and the outcome would have been EXACTLY the same. We are “OK” with the thousands of children who die each year from cancer. And this year, that number will include my Daniel. My precious, beloved Daniel. Please remember him and us in your thoughts and prayers.”
Original Facebook Truth365 post here.
Cancer is the leading disease-related cause of death in children in the United States. Yet pediatric cancer is often left behind when it comes to funding research and developing new drugs. Not only does this give short shrift to children with cancer, but it also threatens to rob us of advances that could benefit cancer patients of all ages.
That’s what I and fellow members of the Coalition for Pediatric Medical Research told the staff of Vice President Joe Biden, who is leading the cancer “moonshot.” We recently met in Biden’s Washington office to make the case that childhood cancer must be represented as the government considers ways to propel cancer research.
Six decades ago, the first major breakthrough in the treatment of cancer came when Dr. Sidney Farber used an experimental drug to treat leukemia in children. Some went into remission — a medical first. Chemotherapy was born, revolutionizing the care of both children and adults with cancer.
Since then, overall cure rates for childhood cancers have risen to 80 percent. Some pediatric cancers post cure rates of 90 percent, while others remain difficult or nearly impossible to cure. At the same time, a majority of childhood cancer survivors experience harmful, lifelong complications of the treatments that saved them. Such late effects can be far more devastating to the survivor diagnosed at age 5 than the survivor diagnosed at age 65.
Silicon Valley billionaire Sean Parker will donate $250 million to launch a new institute aimed at developing more effective cancer treatments by fostering collaboration among leading researchers in the field.
“Any breakthrough made at one center is immediately available to another center without any kind of IP (intellectual property) entanglements or bureaucracy,” Parker, the co-founder of music-sharing website Napster and the first president of Facebook, told Reuters in an interview.
The new Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy will focus on the emerging field of cancer immunotherapy, which harnesses the body’s immune system to fight cancer cells.
A high school in Loudoun County, Virginia, plans to throw a prom with a message this year.
While the students at Freedom High School in South Riding still plan for a fun party, they are scaling back in exchange for giving back.
“We were just bouncing themes around and we had the idea of a charity ball, and it took off from there,” Junior Class President Bobby Doherty said.
The money saved and generated from ticket sales will go to pediatric cancer research.
College basketball coaches across the country will be switching up their shoelaces this week to honor one of Michigan State’s biggest fans.
Special gold shoelaces will be worn by coaches this week to honor Lacey Holsworth, the St. John’s native who formed a relationship with Adreian Payne and the Michigan State basketball team before passing away due to cancer in 2014.
The promotion is part of the Suits and Sneakers Week, in which coaches wear sneakers instead of dress shoes to benefit Coaches vs. Cancer and the American Cancer Society. Funds raised will also benefit Princess Lacey’s Legacy, a nonprofit foundation founded in her honor.
Wisconsin, South Carolina, Akron, La Salle, Dayton and Appalachian State have all announced that they will wear the laces during games this week.
Gold laces are also available to the general public through Shoe Carnival.
That Dragon, Cancer is a video game. The autobiographical game is based on the experience of a family raising their son Joel, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer at twelve months old, and though only given a short time to live, continued to survive for four more years before eventually succumbing to the cancer in March 2014. The game is designed to have the player experience the low and high moments of this period in the style of a point-and-click adventure game, using the medium’s interactivity and immersion to relate the tale in ways that a film cannot.
President Obama announced Tuesday in his final State of the Union that Vice President Joe Biden would spearhead an initiative to cure cancer.
“Last year, Vice President Biden said that with a new moonshot, America can cure cancer,” Obama said, before noting that Biden has worked with Congress to add resources for the National Institutes of Health. “Tonight, I’m announcing a new national effort to get it done. And because he’s gone to the mat for all of us, on so many issues over the past forty years, I’m putting Joe in charge of Mission Control. For the loved ones we’ve all lost, for the family we can still save, let’s make America the country that cures cancer once and for all.”
This comment got enormous applause, as the President turned to Biden and went off script, saying, “What do you say, Joe?” Biden gave him a thumbs up, to more applause. “Let’s make it happen,” President Obama said.
Vice President Biden lost his son, Beau Biden, 46, to brain cancer in 2015.
With the generous support of people in her community and beyond, an Alaska mom is bringing a touch of magic to the lives of young cancer patients through beautiful and whimsical “princess” wigs, all made painstakingly by hand.
The story of these wigs began last year when Holly Christensen got news that her friend’s 3-year-old daughter, Lily, had been diagnosed with cancer. A former oncology nurse, Christensen says she was deeply grieved for the child.
“I knew having been a cancer nurse what she was about to go through,” the 31-year-old mom of three told KTVA.com.
There was, she knew, much suffering ahead for Lily, who was going to undergo chemotherapy. “She’s such a girly girl and loves princesses and [was] about to lose her long beautiful hair,” Christensen, who lives in Palmer, Alaska, told ABC News.
That’s when Christensen says she got the idea to create a special handmade wig for Lily: A Rapunzel-inspired braided style made out of very soft yellow yarn.
Chemotherapy can leave a child’s skin “very tender and sensitive,” making wearing traditional wigs uncomfortable, Christensen explained. The wig she created for Lily was made on an extra-soft crocheted beanie.
“I knew she would be going through a difficult time, and that no one would be able to take her suffering away,” Christensen told Babble. “I also knew that losing her long, curly blonde hair at not even 3 years old would be difficult for her, so I figured that the yarn wig could help bring a little magic and fun to a difficult time in her life.”
Lily is said to have immediately fallen in love with the wig. She would stroke the yarn, Christensen said, and would talk about a time when she would get her “real ‘Rapunzel’ hair” back. It made her “feel like the beautiful princess she is,” said the mom.