September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
The State of Florida, along with 33 other states, has declared September as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. The month has been set aside by presidential proclamation as a time to honor the young patients, their loved ones, and all who support them, and focus efforts on the need to combat this devastating disease. Thus, for the month of September, advocates are encouraging everyone to wear gold as a sign of support and to raise awareness of childhood cancer--the leading fatal disease in children.
Childhood Cancer Statistics
Childhood cancer is a horrible disease that no family should have to experience. Unfortunately, each year cancer interrupts the childhood and limits the potential of thousands of young Americans.
Childhood cancer rates have been rising for the past few decades. Experts estimate that almost 16,000 children under the age of 20 will be diagnosed with cancer this year. While advances in cancer treatment have improved and 5-year survival rates are now approximately 80 percent, tragically, about 1,500 children younger than 15 years old will likely die from cancer in 2014, according to the American Cancer Society.
Survival rates, however, are at best rough estimates which are based on previous outcome of large numbers of children who had a particular form of cancer. While the form of cancer is important in estimating a child's outlook, other factors are also important, including--
- the child's age at diagnosis;
- the location and size of the tumor(s);
- the treatment(s) received; and
- how well the individual child responds to treatment.
The 5-year survival rates for some of the more common childhood cancers are:
- Acute lymphocytic leukemias- 90 percent
- Acute myelogenous leukemias- 64 percent
- Brain and central nervous system tumors- 75 percent
- Ewing sarcomas- 72 percent
- Hodgkin lymphomas- 97 percent
- Neuroblastomas- 79 percent
- Non-Hodgkin lymphomas- 85 percent
- Osteosarcomas- 71 percent
- Retinoblastomas- 99 percent
- Rhabdomyosarcomas- 64 percent
- -Wilms tumors- 90 percent
Early diagnosis is critical to successful cancer treatment and outcomes tend to be much better if the disease is caught early. Unfortunately, missed, incorrect, or delayed diagnoses of cancers are quite common and are estimated to occur in 10-20 percent of cases.
The seriousness and impact of these errors has been shown in studies conducted over the past several years. For example, a 2009 report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality analyzed nearly 600 diagnostic mistakes that were anonymously reported by physicians and found that 28 percent of these diagnostic mistake were life-threatening or had resulted in the patient's death or permanent disability.
Chemotherapy drugs are powerful medicines that can cause serious side effects, including pain, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, anemia, decreased resistance to germs and infections, as well as other uncomfortable physical and mental issues. Delayed, erroneous, or missed cancer diagnosis of pediatric cancers can impact the length of treatment that is ultimately required and the amount of chemotherapy drugs a child must receive.
The amount of chemotherapy drugs received can also greatly affect a child's long-term recovery and outcome. Some of the more common late effects of cancer treatments include--
- Heart or lung problems
- Slowed or delayed growth and development
- Changes in sexual development and ability to have children
- Learning problems
- Increased risk of other cancers later in life
Legal Help For Childhood Cancer Misdiagnosis Or Delayed Diagnosis
The early diagnosis and treatment of childhood cancers is important in order to give kids the greatest chance for the best possible recovery. If you have received the devastating news that your child has been diagnosed with pediatric cancer and if that diagnosis was delayed or missed, you may have questions about receiving help for your child's medical costs as well as receiving justice for your child's needless suffering.
At The Pittman Firm, P.A., our malpractice attorney is here to listen to your situation and discuss your possible legal options for a medical negligence claim against the involved physicians and healthcare providers. Call today for your free, no-obligation consultation.