More children are surviving cancer than ever before, according to statistics released yesterday by the Canadian Cancer Society. But experts are finding that survival often carries lifelong health consequences.
Seven-year-old Casey Wright, from Maple Ridge, is among the 82 per cent of children diagnosed with cancer who survive thanks to progress in treatments — an 11 per cent increase in the past 15 years.
But he also represents the two-thirds of survivors who have to live with chronic or late-occurring health effects.
Casey was six months old when he was diagnosed with a tumour behind one of his eyes.
It left him visually impaired and stunted his growth. He also has difficulty with fine motor skills.
Casey’s mom, Kim Wright, said he’s recently been put on growth hormones, which has been one of the “biggest improvements in his life.”
“We’ve been dealing with this for seven years,” she said. “The first year was hardest. It’s gotten easier just because you learn to deal with it, you learn to live better because you don’t know what will happen.”
Barbara Kaminsky, with the Canadian Cancer Society, B.C. and Yukon division, said treatments for childhood cancers are more severe than for adults.
“(Childhood survivors) have heart problems, lung problems, there could be issues with their ability to think clearly and they have a higher risk of other types of cancer later.”
“The good news is the treatments for most children work, but we need to refine (them) so they don’t have these after-effects.”
82% of children beat cancer
More children are surviving cancer than ever before, according tostatistics released yesterday by the Canadian Cancer Society. Butexperts are finding that survival often carries lifelong healthconsequences.