How I Lost 12.5 Pounds & Regained My Soul

Naked, as in truth, and uncensored, I share my daily quest to survive as a woman and artist, while dealing with the complications of a full life, meddling in politics, loving my children to excess, totally permanently married and on a never-ending diet. While my soul is in constant need of repair and redemption, I struggle to do the right thing. In the meantime, let's all double the love. (Love, not sex, you fool). All posts are copyrighted material.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Childhood cancer survivors, long term complications and new strategies

Good morning, my serious little elk~

When I underwent treatment the radiation technicians encouraged me one day by saying, "You'll make it. You're older."

What they meant was that for years everyone knew that the older you were the more likely you would die of something other than cancer. However, twenty years ago less than 50% of children with cancer would survive the diagnosis.

Now that percentage has increased dramatically. Leukemia and lymphoma, the most common childhood cancers, used to have a survival rate of 25% for kids. Now that survival rate is 80%. A dynamic improvement and one that presents another set of challenges to the physicians who treat these children as they enter adulthood. What will happen to them 10, 20 or 30 years from now? These are questions that are being answered.

Right now about 1 in every 1000 adults is a childhood cancer survivor. That's pretty impressive on its own. Treatment options have changed, obviously, but so has the understanding of cancer in children. For instance, radiation is rarely used in a child, as this prompts secondary cancers in these patients. A child's body can also tolerate more poisons than an adult's, but the fact that their cells reproduce at a much faster rate, also means that more chemotherapy has to be used to kill those cancer cells and it will take out some good cells along with them.

On the other hand, young kidneys, livers, and bones can recover easier in a child than in an adult. The problems survival poses, however, include heart disease, hardening of the arteries in young adulthood, secondary cancers, cognitive deficits, and, of course, the latest studies document that children who survive cancer are three times more likely than their peers to experience a major health problem or future chronic condition. Infertility is one of those most upsetting to many survivors of childhood cancers.

Of course, life is hard for these children once adults, but modern screening methods can diminish the risks and annual check-ups for life are recommended as pre-treatment (like cholesterol lowering meds and high blood pressure treatments) can limit the severity of some of those potential side effects.

In other words, if you are an adult who survived cancer as a child, Ostrich-behavior really won't do. Get your buns to the doctor every year and cut your future risks for health problems substantially.

Clark County Diva



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