Tomorrow, February 15, 2014, is International Childhood Cancer Day. A day devoted to the strength, courage and resiliency of children with cancer and their families. The International Society of Pediatric Oncology (SIOP) and the International Confederation of Childhood Cancer Parent Organizations (ICCCOI) represent pediatric oncologists and childhood cancer parents’ organizations from countries around the world coming together for a common goal. Every year more than 250,000 children are diagnosed with cancer with 90,000 dying from the disease when 70% of all childhood cancers are curable!
While adult cancers have benefited from new targeted drug therapies, childhood cancer drug development has lagged behind and children are receiving very strong drug doses that have many long-term effects. These long-term effects are especially worrisome to the Oncofertility Consortium as they often relate to future fertility of childhood cancer survivors. These cancer drugs save the life of patients but often eliminate the possibility for patients to have biological children when they are adults. Research needs to progress quickly with simultaneous goals of identifying a cure for childhood cancer and eliminating the long-term side effects of cancer therapy on survivors. We look forward to a day when cancer is no longer a concern and will work tirelessly to help the efforts in any way we can! In the meantime, patients and their families can access a wealth of information at the Fertility Preservation Patient Navigator and Oncofertility Consortium websites.