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.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

If you are a child with cancer, don't grow up in Britain or the US...

Good morning, my frantic little daisies~

It is discouraging to read the international papers like the UK's Guardian because of articles like this one:

Late diagnosis blamed for lower child cancer survival rates in UK

· Britain lags behind 14 other European countries
· Higher priority urged for paediatric checks

John Carvel, social affairs editor
Wednesday August 1, 2007
The Guardian

Children with cancer in Britain have lower survival rates than in other western European countries because the NHS gives them low priority, research reveals today.

Experts in paediatrics and cancer research investigated why only 30% of children in Britain survived neuroblastoma, a tumour of the adrenal gland, compared with 46% in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Switzerland.

In a keynote comment for today's issue of The Lancet Oncology, they said the most likely reason was late diagnosis caused by inadequate medical monitoring.

Article continues
In Germany, most children have a primary care paediatrician and those with cancer can be identified during routine health checks. In Britain, NHS guidelines are less thorough with fewer routine examinations recommended.

"Although there is a national service framework for children, there are no targets and children continue to be a low priority for the NHS," said Alan Craft, of the Institute of Child Health at Newcastle University, and Kathy Pritchard-Jones, of the Royal Marsden hospital in London.

The report says "survival for childhood cancer is just one example of the worse state of children's healthcare in the UK compared with many other countries". Mortality rates tables show the UK in 15th position in Europe.

They researchers added: "We need to persuade politicians to ... make an appropriate level of investment, ensuring that the UK improves by comparison with the best-performing countries."

The Lancet paper looked into how Wilm's tumour, another common childhood cancer, affecting the kidney was detected in Germany and Britain between 1994 and 2001. In Germany, 27.4% of patients had the cancer first identified during a visit to a health professional for an unrelated problem or during routine surveillance. But in the UK, only 11% of children treated for the tumour at the Royal Marsden and 4% at the Newcastle hospitals had the cancer identified in this way. In Germany, early diagnosis by routine or incidental examination was linked to the increased survival, the authors concluded.

Prof Craft said last night: "Part of the concern is the whole question of children's health being a low priority for the government. Waiting lists and hospital beds keep chief executives awake at night, but I don't think the health of children does."

Carole Easton, the chief executive of the childhood cancer charity CLIC Sargent, said that UK survival rates for childhood cancer had increased over the past 30 years, with seven out of 10 children now surviving the illness. Alex Markham, senior medical adviser for Cancer Research UK, said: "Five-year survival from childhood cancer in the UK has reached 77%, and for some types of the disease, survival is over 90%."

Much of the data for the Lancet paper was collected between 1977 and 1997. "Since 1997, specialists in the UK have been working with their counterparts across Europe to standardise and improve the treatment and management of children with cancer," said Prof Markham.

The Department of Health said that the number of children successfully treated for cancer had risen from 25% in the 1960s to about 75%.

A DoH spokeswoman said: "Children are a high priority for the NHS. We recognise there is more to do so that our services match the best in Europe."


I am not quoting this article to 'diss' the United Kingdom, but rather to point out that children around the world - even in places we consider highly progressive - are ignoring children's health. Small children, adolescents and teens face a very high risk of dying of cancer because they are rarely screened. Obviously this is a crisis for the family whose child is diagnosed when it is too late.

The news is not all bleak, as non-profit groups and medical teams are currently working towards national standards for cancer treatment. However, the screening that is so critical to early diagnosis and survival is being put on the back burner. Nobody denies treatment to someone, no matter how indigent, once they are diagnosed, but if that diagnosis comes too late for meaningful treatment? Is it just another 'Oh Well... What could we do?'

That is not good enough.

Our country has to demand that medical screenings and care be the best available for each and every citizen, no matter how young. This takes a lot of political will, but in the end wouldn't it be worth it to not see another child die of something that should have been treatable?

Our world has become too obsessed with material things. The only thing that really matters in life to me is my relationships with people. Now don't misunderstand this, of course I appreciate the finer things in life and the earth's natural wonders, art, music, literature... all of those things are beautiful too. They are just not the most important thing. Life is.

Just my take.

Clark County Diva



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