International Pediatric Cancer Awareness Day: Leucan's Progress Report on the Situation in Quebec



    MONTREAL, Feb. 15 /CNW Telbec/ - Since 2002, February 15th has been
declared the International Pediatric Cancer Awareness Day. This year, more
than 65 countries worldwide will underline the harsh reality of children
diagnosed with cancer. Leucan, the Association for children with cancer
celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2008, provides each year accompaniment to
more than 600 children with cancer, as well as to their parents, brothers and
sisters. It also supplies yearly more than half a million dollars in funding
for clinical research in Quebec. Today, Leucan makes a progress report on the
situation.

    Some statistics in Quebec

    Dr. Sharon Abish, pediatric hemato-oncologist at Montreal Children's
Hospital of the MUHC, explains that Pediatric Oncology Centres in Quebec treat
approximately 250 to 270 new cases of cancer every year. In the last 40 years,
progress in the treatment of pediatric cancer has been considerable. In the
60s, this disease was almost always fatal. The recovery rate for children -
with all types of cancer taken into account - is now set at 75%. We note a
recovery rate of 85% in cases of acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common
form of pediatric cancer.

    The importance of clinical research

    That increased recovery rate is due to clinical research. It helps to
better understand the mechanism of cancer's evolution and to reduce side
effects and long-term side effects caused by the treatments. Thanks to
clinical research, Quebec children have access to the best existing treatment
protocols. In addition, clinical research allows innovative treatments, at the
forefront of medical research, to be put forward. Clinical research must
absolutely continue so that one day, all children with cancer can be cured
without long-term side effects. Dr. Caroline Laverdière, pediatric
hemato-oncologist at Sainte- Justine UHC, emphasizes "it would be essential
that both Federal and Provincial Governments invest in clinical research,
which they presently do not do."

    Life after cancer: a significant aspect of cancer control

    Even if the recovery rate progressed, it is important to worry about life
after cancer for children. Although the majority will lead a normal life,
sooner or later, they could have at least one long-term complication because
of the treatments. In August 2007, thanks to a generous contribution of
$75,000 from Fondation Edouard et ses étoiles, a total of $110,000 was
allocated for a program established for the recovery of children who were
treated for pediatric cancer.
    In cooperation with hospital centres medical staff, two workshops
gathered youngsters between 12 and 18 and young adults between 18 and 25 who
were treated for pediatric cancer. Those two activities, which took place
within the last year, aimed at studying their physical, learning and
psychosocial evolution and understanding how to operate after treatments that
left long-term side effects. Dr. Laverdière explains "it was proven that those
youngsters and young adults needed the support of Leucan, health professionals
and paramedical staff."

    Leucan has a crucial role to play towards children and their families

    Leucan, while supporting clinical research and the four Pediatric
Oncology Centres in Quebec, accompanies the child and his/her family
throughout every stage of the disease and, when necessary, into the
bereavement process. The diagnosis of cancer in a child, a potentially fatal
disease, deeply destabilizes the parents and the siblings. Through its many
services and programs such as welcome, support and follow-up service,
financial aid, massage therapy, social and recreational activities and School
Awareness Program, Leucan takes care of each family member.
    Leucan is a non-profit organization founded in 1978. Its mission is to
enhance the well-being, healing and recovery of children with cancer and
ensure support for their families. Besides its headquarters in Montreal,
Leucan is present in nine regions in Quebec and has more than 7,000 members.
Visit Leucan's Web site at www.leucan.qc.ca.




For further information:

For further information: Isabelle Giguère, Communications Consultant,
(514) 731-3696, ext. 208, isabelle.giguere@leucan.qc.ca


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