The month of September is dedicated to raising awareness for Pediatric Cancer. Did you know that only 4% of funds raised for cancer research benefit pediatric cancer research?
Most children and teens with cancer are treated at large pediatric cancer centers. Pediatric cancer treatment is usually offered to children from birth to age 18 or 19, although some groups extend pediatric treatment to age 21. These cancer centers offer clinical trials run by the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), which is supported by the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
The COG is an international group of more than 200 pediatric cancer centers in North America, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe. Through COG, these cancer centers help develop research guidelines, do research (clinical trials), and review their treatment outcomes. Researchers, nurses, and doctors in the COG treat young patients and report their results to an operations center. These data are then reviewed and shared with all the medical experts in the network.
At each COG cancer center, patients with the same cancer diagnoses get the exact same treatment, following detailed guidelines (called protocols). By doing this and comparing all the results, the COG can get answers to important medical and scientific questions much faster than researchers working alone. As a result of this ongoing research and data collection, children and teens treated at these centers have better outcomes and better survival rates.