When we think about progress in fighting cancer, some of the most hopeful stories over the last few years have involved advances in treating children diagnosed with pediatric cancers. Once uniformly fatal, today, many children are thriving, beating the odds that once were stacked up against them. September is Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month and at MSK, we continue to work to advance research to bring about better treatments and awareness to our youngest and most vulnerable patients not only in September, but every day.
Pediatric cancer kills more children than any other disease in the United States. MSK Kids, the pediatric program at MSK, is a multidisciplinary center of excellence for the treatment of children, teenagers, and young adults with cancer and blood disorders. Comprising leading experts in pediatric malignancies, immune deficiencies, and stem cell transplantation biology, the MSK Kids staff is dedicated to seeking novel approaches to achieving more effective outcomes while reducing or minimizing the short- and long-term effects of treatment. Through these pioneering efforts, our MSK Kids clinicians and staff have helped innovate and improve the standard of care for the treatment of children with cancer throughout the country and the rest of the world.
In addition, the MSK Kids team is dedicated to honoring children and families affected by pediatric cancer and to providing compassionate and personalized care and support programs to all its patients. In many cases, this includes treatments not yet available elsewhere. This is crucial for pediatric patients, who can typically wait up to seven years to gain access to new therapies. Only 4 percent of the National Cancer Institute’s budget is dedicated to researching childhood cancers.
“As the largest pediatric oncology program in the nation, we are well-positioned to research and advance new treatments. It’s important for us all here at MSK to learn from and advocate for every child who we have the privilege of caring for,” said Andrew Kung, MD, PhD, and Chair of MSK’s Department of Pediatrics. “Having a month devoted solely to pediatric cancer awareness is wonderful, but we must continue to build and bring awareness all year long.”
MSK Kids is committed to shining a light on pediatric cancer. Our clinicians and care teams are engaged in groundbreaking research that will continue to create tomorrow’s breakthroughs. To learn more about MSK Kids, please visit: https://www.mskcc.org/pediatrics.