Cancer… a horrific word… a horrific disease. It has turned so many people’s lives upside down.
What is cancer?
Cancer is a disease caused by abnormal growth of cells. Cancer is not a single disease. There are hundreds of different types of cancers divided into multiple stages. It starts in one part of the body, which is where it gets its name from and then spreads to other parts of the body. There are also rates of growth of these cells that define how aggressive the disease is. Due to the vast variety of cancers, it has been a slow and painful process to find its cure.
We have made good progress in the field of adult cancer because those types receive practically all of the funding available. And we are making little to no progress on pediatric cancers. This was shocking for us to learn, but for the last 13 years, the National Cancer Institute expenditure for pediatric cancer research funding has been less than 4% of overall. So the federal government’s principal agency for cancer research and training is making the decision to only allocate a fraction of the overall funding available to the 16,000 new children and their families faced with this reality each year. Whatever percent these cases make of the overall, we know that 100% of their lives will be absorbed and turned upside down by this disease. Even though children represent a minority of the cancer community, their research cannot be minimized and ignored.
Team Arnav foundation does not take this lightly, hence our goal is to create awareness for pediatric cancer. There are a few pediatric cancers that have made some progress over the last 40 years. But most cancers like Osteosarcoma have seen little to no survival progress. It remains the leading cause of disease-related death in children and adolescents.
Another major concern for survivors of childhood cancers is, they often face harmful side effects later in their lives due to toxic treatments like radiation and chemotherapy. Whether it is reduced mobility, hearing loss or chemo fog, it really takes a toll on the growing child or adolescent.
There needs to be a paradigm shift in the way of thinking when it comes to Osteosarcoma and other pediatric cancers. We need doctors, researchers, patients, regulators and pharma to work together to find a common path to move forward.
And the change needs to start now...for our son, Arnav, and the remaining one percent of children who didn’t choose cancer. Will you join us?