Gentler Cancer Treatments Improve Survival Rate for Children – New research shows the move to make cancer treatments gentler for children has paid a double dividend, more kids are surviving than ever before, and without the long-term complications that doomed many of their peers a generation ago.
Radiation and chemotherapy have saved countless children from leukemia and other types of cancer, but some of these treatments can damage the heart or other organs, problems that prove fatal years later. In the 1990s, a push began to try to prevent these “late effects” by giving smaller, more targeted doses of radiation, avoiding certain drugs and changing the way chemo is given. But doctors were not sure if the smaller doses would work.
The study tracked over 34,000 kids with cancer over several decades and found that the smaller doses seemed to have worked well and improved survival rates. The number of deaths from second cancers or heart and lung problems also decreased in these kids. Reduced treatment and reduced therapy has incredibly led to better survival rates among the study participants.
The results of the study were presented at American Society of Clinical Oncology conference in Chicago (May 31, 2015).