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Childhood Cancer

The Coast to Coast Cycle to Cure Childhood Cancer Rides Through Oregon!


Story by Cristiana Fraser

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Published on October 12, 2021 3:48 AM
 
On August 15th, two fathers from Connecticut, Alec Fraser and Jamie Meehan each dipped a wheel of their bicycles in Long Island Sound before heading across country. Their destination is Santa Clara,CA, but today is the day they will dip their wheels into the Pacific right here in Oregon. They have ridden cross country to raise money and awareness for pediatric cancers. The riders are honoring the memory of Fraser's son, Julian, an all-American swimmer, water polo player. He was a sophomore at Santa Clara University, where he played Division I water polo, when he lost his battle with cancer in 2017. The bike ride is self-funded, so all donations raised in the coast-to-coast ride benefit Cycle for Survival, and 100% of the money raised will go directly to research led by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Cycle for Survival was created in 2007. This year is the 6th year Team Julian has participated, and the Fraser family and friends have raised more than $750,000.

In August, the tide was low as the two friends steered their bikes down a ramp to the dock where they ceremoniously dipped their wheels into Long Island Sound to mark the start of their coast-to-coast journey.

The last leg of their journey will be October 22nd, in time to arrive for the annual Julian Fraser Memorial Water Polo Tournament at Santa Clara University.

Julian was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. "Osteosarcoma is a really pernicious disease," Alec Fraser said. "The bone cells just replicate themselves uncontrollably and flow like lava out of a volcano, pinching his spinal nerve endings and all over his body. Throughout all of that Julian was incredibly brave, incredibly stoic and so grateful to the wonderful doctors and nurses at Memorial Sloan Kettering."

"His coach at Santa Clara University said, "I've never had a player who was so beloved by his teammates and was so great at bringing all the team together.' That's really how I'll remember Julian."

"We want this event to be a life-affirming, positive event," he continued. "We want to share our experience with you. We want you to share our experience with your friends, your family, and people who might be affected by cancer and really make this a communal thing. We want you all to feel invited to be part of Team Julian."

To learn more about Team Julian and the coast-to-coast bike ride benefiting Cycle for Survival please visit teamjf.org or to make a donation, visit bit.ly/TeamJF4Cure. To reach Team Julian directly, email TeamJF4Cure@gmail.com. To follow their progress, follow on Instagram @TeamJF and Facebook @TeamJF4Cure.

Childhood cancer is cancer in a child. In the United States, an arbitrarily adopted standard of the ages used are 0–14 years inclusive, that is, up to 14 years 11.9 months of age. However, the definition of childhood cancer sometimes includes adolescents between 15–19 years old. Pediatric oncology is the branch of medicine concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of cancer in children. Worldwide, it is estimated that childhood cancer has an incidence of more than 175,000 per year, and a mortality rate of approximately 96,000 per year. In developed countries, childhood cancer has a mortality of approximately 20% of cases. In low resource settings, on the other hand, mortality is approximately 80%, or even 90% in the world's poorest countries. In many developed countries the incidence is slowly increasing, as rates of childhood cancer increased by 0.6% per year between 1975 and 2002 in the United States and by 1.1% per year between 1978 and 1997 in Europe. Unlike cancers in adults, which typically arise from years of DNA damage, childhood cancers are caused by a misappropriation of normal developmental processes.

Types Two girls with acute lymphocytic leukemia demonstrating intravenous access for chemotherapy. The most common cancers in children are leukemia, brain tumors, and lymphomas. In 2005, 4.1 of every 100,000 young people under 20 years of age in the U.S. were diagnosed with leukemia, and 0.8 per 100,000 died from it. The number of new cases was highest among the 1–4 age group, but the number of deaths was highest among the 10–14 age group.

In 2005, 2.9 of every 100,000 people 0–19 years of age were found to have cancer of the brain or central nervous system, and 0.7 per 100,000 died from it. These cancers were found most often in children between 1 and 4 years of age, but the most deaths occurred among those aged 5–9. The main subtypes of brain and central nervous system tumors in children are: astrocytoma, brain stem glioma, craniopharyngioma, desmoplastic infantile ganglioglioma, ependymoma, high-grade glioma, medulloblastoma and atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor.

Adolescent and young adult oncology Main article: Adolescent and young adult oncology Adolescent and young adult oncology is a branch of medicine that deals with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer in AYA patients aged 13–30. Studies have continuously shown that while pediatric cancer survival rates have gone up, the survival rate for adolescents and young adults has remained stagnant. While many clinical trials exist for adults with cancer and children with cancer, AYAs underutilize clinical trials. Most pediatric clinical trials serve patients up to age 21. Additionally, AYAs face problems that adults and children rarely see including college concerns, fertility, and sense of aloneness. Studies have often shown that treating young adults with the same protocols used in pediatrics is more effective than adult oriented treatments.

Treatment Childhood cancers do not typically consist of tumors with clinically targetable oncogenes. Thus, treatment is frequently limited to chemoradiotherapy, which is a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The cytotoxicity of chemotherapy can result in immediate and long-term treatment-related comorbidities. For children undergoing treatment for high-risk cancer, more than 80% experience life-threatening or fatal toxicity as a result of their treatment.

Prognosis Main article: Cancer survivor Adult survivors of childhood cancer have some physical, psychological, and social difficulties.

Premature heart disease is a major long-term complication in adult survivors of childhood cancer. Adult survivors are eight times more likely to die of heart disease than other people, and more than half of children treated for cancer develop some type of cardiac abnormality, although this may be asymptomatic or too mild to qualify for a clinical diagnosis of heart disease.

Childhood cancer survivors are also at risk of developing adverse effects on the kidneys and the liver. The risk of liver late adverse effects in childhood cancer survivors is increased in those who have had radiotherapy to the liver and in people with factors such as higher body mass index and chronic viral hepatitis. Certain treatments and liver surgery may also increase the risk of adverse liver effects in childhood cancer survivors.

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