Facing ‘The Consequence of Cure’
While Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) focuses largely on researching and developing oncology treatments for adults, we also pursue greater understanding of pediatric oncology. However, given the unique complexities of childhood cancer in its many forms – there are 12 major types – we extend our reach beyond our own labs to support global research collaborations that bring together experts in the field from many organizations.
Childhood cancer is rare, with fewer than one percent of all cancer cases occurring among youngsters; and when they do, survival rates are relatively high, approximately 80 percent in the U.S. While more children suffering from cancer are surviving, they then must face what Matthew calls “the consequence of the cure.” That is, living with the physical and emotional challenges of surviving cancer.
Today, there are an estimated 1.4 million survivors under age 40 in the U.S., 500,000 of whom beat cancer before the age of 13. Unfortunately, the majority live with co-morbidities that are often a consequence of treatment, ongoing care or remission.
The issues of childhood cancer survivorship are also unique.