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Rules are too cautious for children suffering from cancer


by Chris Bate

It’s hard to imagine the impact that serious illness can have on a person or a family and it’s only natural that you would want to do everything in your power to overcome this - there have been many high-profile cases of this over recent times with people looking to gain special measures to get the best treatment available.

But, when news broke that rules are too cautious for children suffering from cancer to be allowed highly specific precision drugs, that are currently available to adults, it is no surprise that this has been met with anger. A study in the European Journal of Cancer states that children could benefit even greater than adults from the drugs but only 7% of children were receiving them.

In the UK it’s estimated that there are as many as 1,850 children that are diagnosed with cancer each year, which does represent a very small percentage of all cancers diagnosed in the UK (<1%) but still begs the question as to why 93% of these children are not being granted access to potentially lifesaving medicines?

Cancer Research UK’s Dr Áine McCarthy, said: "Making sure children and young people with cancer have access to the best treatment options available is vital to improving survival and long-term outcomes.

Unfortunately, as this study highlights, there are barriers that limit access to these potentially life-saving treatments."

So, what are these barriers:

As highlighted earlier there were only 7% of cases where a precision drug was utilised, but the researchers believe that as many as 51% of cases could have been treated with this method, Paediatric Oncologist and one of the researchers, Dr Sally George, confirmed that the “study exposes the desperately frustrating barriers that children still face in receiving new treatments.’


Source: European Journal of Cancer


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