This is Michael. This morning, Cannon went to speech therapy first thing. He is 4 years old, and his speech is delayed and he does not form words well. He will wearing hearing aids likely for the remainder of his life. Why? Because antiquated cancer drugs developed for adults were administered to him during his treatment for neuroblastoma. Why was that? Because there are no alternatives or therapies developed specifically for children. Cannon lost part of his hearing and now has a disability because adult drugs were administered to him because a pediatric version does not exist. Imagine this: Hospital staff comes into your child's room and asks you as the parent to sign a form to consent to giving your child a type of chemotherapy that will cause a recognized disability in the child for the rest of the child's life. "Please sign this form, and your child will be disabled for life" is essentially what it says. All because not enough research has been done into pediatric forms of cancers and therapies to treat them.
I have posted before about the wickedness of the drugs used to treat children with cancer. I cannot leave the subject. It is at the heart of the push for research and action for this reason: we need more research to develop new therapies for 3 primary reasons: 1/ less painful treatment for kids, with less immediate side effects of vomiting, diarrhea, extreme nausea, mouth, intestinal and anal sores; 2/ more effective treatment for kids, so that the drugs and therapies more efficiently rid the body of the cancer cells and with higher success rates; and 3/ to find a cure to prevent cancers in children.
Why is it necessary to push for more action and more funding of research to develop new therapies? I have stated as a fact of the day previously that only 3 pediatric cancer drugs have been developed and approved in the U.S. in the past 22 years. Again I state --- shameful. Absolutely shameful. But what are the drugs that are being used on kids with the 12 major types of kids' cancers?
Childhood cancer Awareness Fact of the Day: Nearly all drugs currently used to treat children with cancer, with the exception of a few anti-leukemia drugs developed in the 1950s and early 1960s, were developed for adult cancers and then found “effective” to treat cancer in children. But it is true that most common types of childhood cancer are distinct from adult cancers clinically, pathologically, cytologically, and in the molecular abnormalities that underlie them (this is why oncologists of all types and pediatricians know that babies, infants, toddlers, children, preteens and teens are NOT small adults and should not be treated as if they were--- yet they are in the pediatric cancer world). If the discovery and development of new agents for childhood cancers were to capitalize on today’s science and “modern medicine” and advancements in technology, gene mapping, etc.—which in large measure it does not—there is every reason to believe that cure rates could be improved for all pediatric cancers.
Source: National Research Council, Making Better Drugs for Children with Cancer (2005)
Consider these chemotherapy drugs which have been given to Cannon and other children with neuroblastoma and other forms of pediatric cancer:
Carboplatin--- approved by the FDA 3/3/83
Cisplatin--- approved by the FDA 7/16/99
Cyclophosphamide--- approved by the FDA 7/3/86
Doxorubicin--- approved by the FDA before 1/1/82
Etoposide--- approved by the FDA 2/22/96
Vincristine--- approved by the FDA 3/7/84
All approved for adult cancers. Not a single one initially approved for pediatric cancer. (By the way, if you are really interested in this subject matter, Google or further research any of these drugs individually and check out the toxicity levels of each. It has brought me to tears knowing I have had to ok the administration of each, several times over, to try to save Cannon’s life). The “youngest” or most recently approved chemotherapy agent? 15 years old. Really? My son had to have drugs that were developed for adults AND cause a lifetime of problems or his premature death AND are between 15 and 30 years old when we live in an age when a new iPhone comes out every year? Outrageous. Can this really be? Answer: It is. And today, several thousand kids treating for cancer, fighting like hell just to live, will receive one or more of these chemo drugs.
Maddening. Let's raise awareness, raise money, fund research and STOP this cruelty to our children.
For Cannon and all our children who suffer from disabilities as a result of antiquated cancer treatments,
please help Melissa and me and all the families of children with cancer fight this fight. Please watch The Truth 365 at www.thetruth365.org and then pass it to all those who you believe might do the same. Help us raise awareness and then pledge to act and honor all the families of those children already lost to children's cancer. Make a donation today to CKc, St. Baldrick's Foundation, CureSearch or Alex's Lemonade Stand. Research is the only way to develop new therapies and to find a cure to end cancer in children. It can be done. It can… believe it and Stand Up for Children… Stand UP.