Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Unless otherwise specified, source is National Cancer Institute

In the US:

Incidence Rate:

  • One in 330 children will develop cancer by age 20.
  • Each school day, 46 children are diagnosed with cancer and 10 with some form of sarcoma
  • 12,400 children and adolescents younger than 20 years of age are diagnosed with cancer.
  • Every year, over 40,000 children are diagnosed with sarcoma around the world. (source: Candlelight)

Survival Rate:

  • Approximately 2,300 children and adolescents die of cancer each year, which makes cancer the most common cause of disease-related mortality for children 1-19 years of age.
  • Cancer accounts for the greatest number of disease deaths of children in the United States and kills more children per year than cystic fibrosis, muscular
    dystrophy, asthma and AIDS combined.
  • Cancer claims twice as many lives as AIDS worldwide. At least 7 million people die of cancer each year and close to 11 million new cases are diagnosed.
  • More than 12% of all deaths every year are caused by cancer. That's more than AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria put together.
Research reality:

Cancer drugs used on children today are cancer drugs that were developed for adults 30 or 40 years ago.

Last year, The National Cancer Institute's (NCI) federal budget was $4.6 billion. Of that, breast cancer received 12%, prostate cancer received 7%, and all 12 major groups of pediatric cancers combined received less than 3% ...Across all age groups and 50 subtypes of cancer, sarcoma received less than 1%.

PET Scans Best for Measuring Response to Sarcoma Treatment

PET Scans Best for Measuring Response to Sarcoma Treatment

FRIDAY, Feb. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Positron emission tomography (PET) is more accurate and sensitive than standard scans for measuring treatment response in sarcoma patients, UCLA researchers report.

The study, reported in the Feb. 1 issue of Clinical Cancer Research and among the first to compare PET to CT scanning, found standard scans only identified 20 percent of patients who responded to treatment, while PET identified 100 percent of responders.

Currently, sarcoma patient response to treatment is evaluated after patients are scanned using CT or MRI before and after treatment. The before and after findings are compared to determine if the tumor has shrunk. If there's no change, the disease is considered stable. Tumor shrinkage of more than 30 percent is considered partial response, while tumor elimination is considered total response.

CT and MRI scans provide anatomical images of the body, while PET provides information about numerous biochemical functions in real time.

The findings could prove important for patients, according to the UCLA researchers. They noted that if CT or MRI scans fail to detect treatment response, doctors may halt therapies that are working.

"We knew from our considerable experience with neoadjuvant therapy (treatment before surgery) in sarcoma patients that measuring tumor size correlated poorly with response," study senior author Dr. Fritz Eilber, an assistant professor of surgery and director of the Sarcoma Program at UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center, said in a prepared statement.

"We have removed many tumors that have not changed in size with treatment or have even grown, but are completely dead on pathologic analysis. Just because the tumor doesn't shrink doesn't mean the treatment didn't work," he said.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: University of California, Los Angeles, news release, Feb. 1, 2008

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