Survivors

 of Childhood Cancer

“For survivors of childhood cancer, 

the battle is never over.”

We explain some of the chronic and life-threatening health risks that survivors of childhood cancers may experience for many years.

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More than 420,000 Americans are survivors of pediatric cancers in the United States.  

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The definition of a cure and survival means living more than five years after the cancer was diagnosed.

TWO-EDGED SWORD

There is a dark side to conventional cancer treatments that casts a shadow over the future of the survivor. The two-edged sword of survivorship is the significant risk of developing chronic or life-threatening health problems that last a lifetime, including a second cancer.

The medical establishment expects that the cancer patient should be able to get on with life after the treatments, but too often the family is puzzled and anxious when the child or teen or young adult develops a new complication - either physical, emotional or cognitive - magnified by their toxic treatments. These are known as late effects because they occur after the five-year survival mark and some may not show up for years.

CANCER IS NOT A “JOURNEY”

Most cancer organizations tend to refer to fighting and surviving cancer as a “journey” – but let us be logical – a trip around the world is a journey - cancer is not. Instead, it is a fierce, ravaging killing disease that needs to be challenge and conquered, not accepted as a “journey” or “experience” or treated almost like a rite of passage.

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Doctors admit that toxic treatments – chemo drugs, radiation, and steroid drugs - all compromise the immune system, leaving the patient more susceptible to ongoing health problems even after their cancer is in remission.

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While the completion of cancer treatments is a time to celebrate, their future brings new challenges.  Many families feel frightened and fragile after all they have gone through watching their child suffer months or years of painful therapies, so they worry about the future and if their child will be OK. Or will cancer return?

LATE EFFECTS

Most cancer experts advise families to collect all the written medical history of diagnosis and treatments for the child and to follow up with monthly or annual medical exams by a physician who is familiar with the cancer treatment history of the survivor. This can mean a whole host of exams, tests, and screenings for a possible recurrence of cancer. It also increases the fear and anxiety experienced by the child and the entire family.

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Incredibly, the survival experts rarely encourage the child or his/her family to help reduce future risks and enhance their chances of survival by choosing an organic diet rich in superfoods and nutrients that fortify the immune system.

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It is vitally important that survivors learn how to go forward to a lifestyle that encourages optimal health. They should be encouraged to eliminate or greatly reduce sweets since sugar is known to feed rogue cells. Quality vitamin supplements should be added to their daily regimen. Survivors should never smoke and should avoid second-hand smoke, not use alcohol or drugs, and to enjoy daily exercise.

Research shows that 95% of childhood cancer survivors will have at least one chronic health problem and 80% will suffer a life-threatening late effect. They may include 

emotional, physical, and cognitive problems.

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EMOTIONAL problems include anxiety, fear, unable to sleep, the child no longer enjoys certain activities, suffers depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), is irritable,

and moody. Some are afraid the cancer will return, which it sometimes does.

PHYSICAL late effects include weakness, disability, damage to the heart, lungs, vision, hearing, digestive system, reproductive system, problems with changes in hormonal levels that affect puberty and sexual function, infertility, brain, growth, bone formation, and development.

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COGNITIVE late effects include changes in the child by having difficulty with brain function, memory, learning, thinking, remembering.

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YEARS OF STUDIES REVEAL RISKS

BEST HOPE FOR VICTORY

  • Survivors of childhood cancers have a nine-fold increased risk of developing a secondary sarcoma (cancer), compared with the general population. Radiation and chemo drugs are the causes.  ~Journal of the National Cancer Institute

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  • Children and adolescents who survive cancer have a significantly higher risk of developing heart disease as young adults. They face a variety of complications related to toxic cancer treatments that include heart failure, heart attacks, and heart valve abnormalities – as late as 30 years after therapy. ~British Medical Journal

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  • There is considerable evidence of adverse late effects, including lower intelligence testing scores that may impact the childhood cancer survivor’s educational performance. 

    ~Science Daily Health

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  • Radiation increases the risk of second primary tumors in the brain and spinal column for childhood cancer survivors. 

    ~Journal of the National Cancer Institute

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  • Childhood cancer survivors treated for brain tumors are two to three times more likely to suffer stroke later in life. Those treated for leukemia have 15 times more risk of stroke.   

    ~UT Southwestern Medical Center Study

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  • Fatigue, pain, and sleep problems dramatically reduce the thinking and abilities of adults who survive childhood cancer. They are particularly vulnerable to impaired memory, emotional control, organization and related cognitive skills. These problems significantly affect a survivor’s life and make it less likely they will hold a job, marry, or form other social connections. 

    ~St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital

  • Those who survive brain tumors were more likely to never marry. Survivors of leukemia, and central nervous system cancers had the greatest likelihood to never marry. 

    ~Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention

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  • Women who survived childhood cancer are more likely to face particular risks for pregnancy.  Women treated with abdominal radiation delivered more premature babies, and also more likely to suffer premature menopause before age 40. Risk factors were caused by radiation to the abdomen and certain chemo drugs. ~Journal of the National Cancer Institute

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  • Radiation treatments to the head can cause the female childhood cancer patient’s hypothalamus to reduce the production of hormones important for promoting ovulation. 

    ~ScienceDaily Health

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  • Many childhood cancer survivors struggle to fully participate in our society because of the lasting cognitive or physical effects of their past cancer treatments that cause: short stature, poor physical functioning, and cognitive problems, cause by toxic cures. ~American Association for Cancer Research

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  • Childhood cancer survivors of leukemia, brain, or other central nervous system cancers achieve lower-than-expected educational success. Significantly, those who had radiation performed worse than the general population. 

    ~Journal of the National Cancer Institute 

Despite exaggerated claims of making steady advances with vague promises of better treatments through new drugs or targeted radiation, cancer remains the seemingly invincible killer disease, and toxic conventional treatments are outdated.

 

“It is clear that the complications, known and unknown, that will develop in survivors can demand a level of knowledge that is beyond the range of the general internist or family doctor, or even of medical oncologists.”   ~ Philip Rosoff, M.D.

THE BEST HOPE for victory over cancer is in safe, natural, nontoxic but effective treatments that enhance the body’s immune system to seek out, attack and destroy cancer cells without causing damage to healthy cells and organs.

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CHILDREN AGAINST CANCER is dedicated to helping kids and teens do more than survive. We want them to also thrive. You can help by being part of the solution.

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Please donate today and give hope!

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Thank you!

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