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WHY IS STUDYING CHILDHOOD CANCER IMPORTANT?
In B.C., about 130 children under the age of l5 are diagnosed with cancer every year and all of them are seen at BC Children's Hospital. Children and adolescents with cancer are not simply little adults with cancer. Children's cancers differ greatly from adult cancers in the way they look and grow, and how they respond to treatment. The chances of complications in the treatment of cancer in kids can be high due to and including heart damage or hearing loss, from conventional therapies.
Children are not the only ones whose lives are changed by cancer. When a child has cancer, the family as a whole is never the same again – their lives are turned upside down. The anxiety and fear of losing a child to cancer can affect family relationships and the emotional well-being of parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents and extended families for many years.
Thanks to child specific cancer research and improved treatments, childhood cancers respond well to today's therapies, and children with cancer have a better chance of living a longer life than ever before. In fact, if diagnosed and treated correctly, the overall cure rate for children with some types of cancer can be as high as 80 per cent. That's more than double the cure rate from the 1950s. Cure rates will continue to rise with the medical advancements and research made possible through our support of the oncology fellowship training program.