Cancer is a word which evokes many different images and emotions. Nothing in this world can prepare a person for the utter devastation of finding out someone has been diagnosed with cancer, especially when this person is a child. Over the past twenty five years the amount of research and the survival rate for children suffering with cancer have increased dramatically. Despite these successes, the funding for new research necessary to keep these children alive and healthy is miniscule and too dependent on short term grants. Of the billions of dollars spent each year on cancer treatments and research less than a third is contributed to researching pediatric cancer. Given the media focus on adult cancers, research for pediatric cancer is underfunded. In order to maintain the increasing survival rate of the children undergoing pediatric cancer and support those who have survived the disease, better funding is quintessential to develop and further promote research.
Government funding has proven to be essential and effective in the fight against cancer. On December 23, 1971 President Nixon signed the National Cancer Act, which promised to finance the quest for the cure. Financial aid such as this has directly benefitted survival rates for those diagnosed with cancer. Forty years ago before such funding was provided, when a child was diagnosed with cancer most physicians considered the patient to be terminally ill and supportive care was almost the only thing offered to the family. However over the last few decades, due to research and participation in clinical trials performed due to funding, the majority of children are cured. Because of the creations of new drugs and therapies as a result of government aid, the survival rate of children with pediatric cancer has increased from ten percent to a successful seventy eight percent. This research is what provides hope for a cancer free future.
When it comes to cancer, so much of the world’s knowledge is based on statistics. For example, each day forty-six children, or more than two full classrooms of kids, are diagnosed with cancer and one out of every three hundred thirty people will develop cancer before the age of twenty. The simplest and most important of these statistics is this, “Cancer is the number one cause of death by disease in children.” Pediatric cancer takes the lives of more people than the number of children who die from asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis and pediatric AIDS combined! About one thousand three hundred and eighty children are expected to die from cancer this year alone. Although the cure rate of children with cancer is steadily increasing for most childhood cancers over the past five years, the number of children who will die is overwhelming and unacceptable.
Billions of dollars are spent each year on cancer treatment, but studies and drug development for pediatric cancer remains underfunded. “Research for children with cancer lags nearly two decades...