Childhood cancer Awareness Month - Day 5

Children are NOT Small Adults


This is Michael. Yesterday was Cannon's 3rd Birthday Party, and it was great to have almost the entire Scottish side of his family there at a beautiful children's play facility right on the beach in a town called Prestwick, Ayrshire, Scotland. I wish I could fully describe the feeling I had while playing with Cannon in the ball pits and on the spongy slides and as he jumped among the balloons. It was a bit surreal, but I thought of several moments during the past year when he suffered so much, lying listless on a hospital bed, or the so many times he was put under anesthesia and we would hold him and act like we were playing with him as the anesthesia drug was put in his body and his eyes would look at me like "what is happening Dad?" and then roll back in his head and he would be put out, only to be taken for yet another scan, another bone marrow biopsy or more radiation. I thought of days he wouldn't even acknowledge Melissa or me in the room and lay there with a gray stare and illness that no child, or parent watching it for that matter,  should ever experience. These are the moments of childhood cancer that we must eliminate, and as I watched Cannon play with other children and smile, I could only think "What if?" What if we could find the cause of the 12 major types of childhood cancer and make the threat of any child, ever again, having to endure the treatment for cancer? We can do that with more investigation, research and effort.

Childhood cancer Awareness Fact of the Day:  

Today’s fact for Childhood cancer Awareness Month might seem fairly obvious but it bears repeating:  Childhood cancer occurs regularly, randomly and spares no ethnic group, socioeconomic class, or geographic region anywhere in the world. The causes of childhood cancers are largely unknown, and for the most part they cannot be prevented. A few conditions, such as Down syndrome, other specific chromosomal and genetic abnormalities, and radiation exposures, explain a small percentage of cases. Children with AIDS, for example, have an increased risk of developing certain cancers, predominantly non-Hodgkin lymphoma. But, for the great majority, the cause of cancer in children is unknown and not preventable.  Source: Curesearch

Some childhood cancers almost never strike after the age of 5; others occur most often in teenagers. Even when kids get cancers that adults get—like lymphoma—they must be treated differently. Children are not simply smaller adults! Yet the treatment for kids with cancer is almost always just that--- and hasn't changed significantly in 25 years!  Who among us would ever go to the pharmacist and buy any medication labeled "For Adults Only" and then take it home and give it to their children??  Nobody. Yet that happens in the children's cancer world EVERY day because there are little to no therapies and drugs and chemotherapies developed for children with cancer; almost the entirety of the treatment for pediatric cancer is drugs and therapies originally designed, developed and approved in trial for adults, and now dosed down and given to kids with cancer because there is no other alternative. It is maddening, and, frankly, a disgrace to a modern society.

Medical literature is clear:  A child’s developing and growing body and organs respond differently to “hand me down” chemotherapy drugs used on adults. There is a term called pharmokinetics and it generally means the absorption rate, distribution rate, metabolism rate and excretion rate of drugs in the human body. Drugs designed, tested and approved for adults, especially those so drastic in intent, should not have to be used on children---YET THEY ARE IN KIDS WITH CANCER--- ALMOST PREDOMINANTLY.  Source: People Against Childhood Cancer/PAC2.    

This is the reason why children will suffer later effects in life from their cancer treatments, if they survive the cancer and the treatment itself.   Many children treated for cancer develop a secondary cancer simply because they are treated with harsh chemotherapies designed and developed for adults and an adult form of cancer. It's wrong. 

The link below is from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).  Although it is a bit of an advertisement, it explains how experimental research occurs and why for children with cancer. It also features a number of physicians and staff that treated and cared for Cannon during our 3 months in Philadelphia last year, including Dr. Steve Grupp, who administered Cannon's stem cell transplant over many, many painful weeks. Have a look if you are interested in more information about what clinical trials are and what the Cannonball Kids' cancer Foundation is seeing to promote and fund:  

Saint Peregrine, JoeJoe, Eddie, Nicholas, Bella, Talia, Cole, Erin, Gabriella, Trenton, Tommy, Addison, Abigail, Christopher, Jayson, Landon, Salvatore, Zoe, Brooke, Laney and all the angels and saints, please pray for Cannon, Patrick, Ethan, Princeton, Ava, Sabrina, Sophia, Sophie, Andy, Calin, Parker, Ayven, Sebastian, Ellen, Ella, Austin, Braden, Nora, Nate, Theo, Maggie, Jacob, Gage, Jace, Makayla, Angel and all those who suffer from cancer.