No parent expects to outlive their child – yet, tragically, some do. And although it’s relatively rare, cancer is still single biggest killer of children.
A few weeks ago, Dr Antony Michalski, a Cancer Research UK-supported doctor from London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital, came to our head office to give an engrossing talk about his experience of treating children with cancer.
It’s a fascinating and personal account of his years as a consultant, where he touches on the significant progress that’s been made, but also the huge challenges that remain to ensure as many children as possible survive, and go on to live productive lives:
In one way, the progress Dr Michalski talks about is astounding. The survival rate for children’s cancer has more than doubled since the 1960s and more children than ever are surviving their disease. Now almost three-quarters of children are cured, compared with around a quarter in the late 1960s.
But “we’re not even close to perfection” when it comes to treatment, he says. This is an issue we’ve written about before – the need to tackle long-term effects of treatment on those who survive. After all, a child who survives cancer has potentially decades of life ahead of them, and we need to make sure these are as happy, healthy and ‘normal’ as possible for them.
How can we do this? Dr Michalski says research is the answer, and we wholeheartedly agree. He’s a passionate advocate of laboratory research and the “great hope of molecular biology” in uncovering the answers we need to make treatment better.
Research is the driving force behind the improvements we’ve seen so far, and will undoubtedly be the driving force behind future advances.
We hope you are as inspired by Dr Michalski’s talk as we were. Please do share your thoughts and comments below.
P Carlos May 8, 2013
I have a child who just finished her treatment two weeks ago. Watching Dr Michalski’s uplifting talk completely moved me and made me even more thankful for the phenomenal work they do. Having an insight into their passion has just heightened my belief as to why I must continue to support this charity and hope that many more people will be inspired to do the same.
Rosalie Dunn May 3, 2013
Excellent informative video of true situation for child cancer survivors
Sue Almond May 2, 2013
I have myeloma and amyloidosis. Without some amazing research in recent years my prognosis would have been so much worse. I am doing so well after course of chemo therapy, thalidomide and steroids followed by a stem cell transplant. My quality of life is good and I hope to enjoy and be able to be useful and to contribute for many years yet. Every penny counts and if you cannot afford to give a lot please give a little. Many people making small donations results in life saving research. The video I have just watched is particularly moving because it involves children. I am so in awe of the wonderful doctors, like Dr Michalski. I am alive because of dedicated people like him and the people who give towards the research. Every one of us that has benefited has so much to be thankful for.
Pam Cotton May 2, 2013
A very interesting and inspiring talk by Dr Michalski. I am a member of a local fund-raising group and to see the enthusiasm of this wonderful Dr, and to realise how much the work and backing of CR UK helps him and his colleagues to undertaken their treatment of patients, gives me the encouragement to continue with all our fund-raising activities and raise more funds for CR UK.
J Rowley April 19, 2013
Some rare cancers still desperately under funded and completely devastating when become metastic. This is more so in teenagers who don’t always mention symptoms until quite survere eg. Rhabdomyosarcoma. Devastating for the child and for the families!