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  • Writer's pictureLisa Pagán

COURAGE and the prevention of childhood cancer

Updated: Jan 12

In the journey to affect change in the current pediatric oncology landscape, I’ve come to understand what “prevent childhood cancer” looks like for KOASTRONG Childhood Cancer Prevention Organization. It involves so much more than a funding transaction supporting genomic or biologic research. What is necessary is more of a “Wheel of Prevention of Childhood Cancer” requiring many different spokes & spectrums, representing the medical, health & research specialties. The wheel can only move in the direction of prevention of childhood cancer when each specialty is focused on forward progress in this area. Genomics, epidemiology, obstetrics, pediatrics, neonatology, virology, genetic counseling, cancer geneticists, family planning, public health and health policy must work together, much like gears do, to gain knowledge, and to also package and share that information for public benefit. Research discoveries alone will not create the prevention of childhood cancers.

Primary prevention of childhood cancer is KOASTRONG’s mission.

What are the possibilities!?

  1. Identify more genes that cause the cancers in children and use this information to benefit children and families; develop screenings to be administered at birth, and age 5.

  2. Screen newborns for the markers that are related to the cancers in children; advocate for all states to include childhood cancers in the existing newborn screenings processed at state laboratories.

  3. Screen healthy growing children multiple times before age 8.

  4. Include blood draws in well visits on healthy children.

  5. Vaccinate against the viruses that cause childhood cancers.

  6. Create risk assessments of genetic predisposition and environmental exposures for childhood cancers and a protocol to increase surveillance in children that have risk factors, including more frequent check ups and bloodwork.

  7. Involve pediatric oncology in primary prevention of childhood cancer.

  8. Genetic testing, genetic counseling and exposure risks should be readily available in the family planning phase.

  9. Identify the environmental exposures that cause childhood cancers.

  10. Develop the current research for known childhood cancer element exposures into youth (& adult) screenings.

KOASTRONG will focus foremost efforts on funding research and supporting efforts to include childhood cancer markers in the newborn screenings.

KOASTRONG is determined and will move forward with courage at every step:

To gain knowledge that could be as painful as it is beneficial and informative.

To learn to surf the waves, moving in the direction of change, rather than attempt to stop an inevitable and perpetual motion of energy.

To push forward and in a new direction when everyone else is going in a different direction.

To hit roadblocks, rejection and failure and get back up to find the way.

To challenge the current state of medical prevention which does not begin until a child GETS the cancer diagnosis.

We protect skating children with helmets & elbow pads, just in case they fall. Children deserve to have layers of protection against cancers, instead of none.

Koa was a protector, always standing up for his friends and loved ones. All children deserve to be protected from childhood cancers. Be a part of an our movement to end childhood cancer! Lets do it for Koa.

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