Dr. Jeffrey Toretsky is a St. Baldrick’s researcher at the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington, D.C. He explains what sarcoma is, how it’s diagnosed and treated, and how research is helping kids and adults with this type of cancer.
What is sarcoma?
A sarcoma is a bumpy tumor that occurs in the connective tissues (nerves, muscles and bones) anywhere in the body.
Sarcomas are rare, especially in young children. In kids between 10 and 20, sarcomas make up about 20-25% of childhood cancer diagnoses.
Sarcomas can start off being tiny lumps that you can’t feel. They can spread through the body, or metastasize, before they grow big enough to be seen.
Especially striking increases have been noted for malignant melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer.
In fact, the CDC reports that skin cancer is now the most common form of cancer in the U.S.
As the weather gets warmer and the sun gets hotter, it is important to learn how to best protect our children from solar radiation.
For childhood cancer survivors, treatment helps them to live, but often that survival comes at a cost. But what are these costs? And how big is the problem? That’s what St. Baldrick’s Fellow Dr. Nickhill Bhakta wanted to figure out. And as it turns out, that data could be a lifesaver.
St. Baldrick’s Fellow Dr. Nickhill Bhakta works at his desk in St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. With a portion of the grant supported by the St. Baldrick’s Friends for Hope Fund, he developed a special statistical tool to help capture the true volume and complexity of chronic health conditions faced by childhood cancer survivors because of the long-term consequences of their treatment — something that hadn’t been done before. Photos courtesy of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
With your continued support, pediatric cancer researchers are making discoveries to help improve treatment and provide hope for more cures. Five examples of research outcomes you’ve made possible are detailed below:
Combined Efforts: First Partnership Grants of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and the American Cancer Society
When a patient is fighting cancer, a combination of two cancer treatments often works better than just one. Since August of 2019, another kind of combination has been at work to fight childhood cancers: A partnership between the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and the American Cancer Society.
Today we are excited to announce the first set of research projects to be supported by this partnership, totaling more than $2.8 million.
This week is National Volunteer Week – a week dedicated to celebrating YOU, our tireless volunteers who have risen to the challenges of the past year. Even though the pandemic presented us with many obstacles, it also gave us new opportunities for creativity and ingenuity.
The next generation of childhood cancer researchers are hard at work to create better futures for kids with cancer. Thanks to your fundraising and generosity there is hope, and the future is bright!
You – St. Baldrick’s donors and fundraising participants – make this possible. Thank you!
St. Baldrick’s Foundation Fellowship Awards support new pediatric oncology doctors for two to three years to conduct childhood cancer research while receiving advanced training under a mentor.
Take a look at the three stellar new 2021 Fellows whose research you’re supporting:
With your help researchers continue to answer questions, seek out cures, and reduce long-term effects of treatment. Four exciting research outcomes you made possible are detailed below:
Dr. Joseph Lubega has big news — he’s bringing specialized pediatric cancer training to his home country of Uganda, thanks to his St. Baldrick’s International Scholar Grant and a partnership between Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital. Read on for more about the pioneering program and why it will be a lifesaver for kids with cancer in the region.
EXCITING UPDATE February 15, 2021: It’s been over four years since St. Baldrick’s International Scholar, Dr. Joseph Lubega, and the Global HOPE Program at Texas Children’s Hospital launched the first Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Fellowship Program in East Africa.
The Program, the first of its kind in the region, is making very broad and long-lasting impact: Fourteen pediatric oncologists have already graduated from the two-year program and they lead pediatric cancer care and research at nine different centers in four countries, seeing a total of more than 2500 new children with cancer annually.
The two current classes of ten trainees come from seven countries across Africa: Congo (DRC), Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.
Another impact of the Program has been the opening of an additional fellowship training program at Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences in Tanzania. The second Program opened in November 2020 with 3 fellows and is led by Dr. Lulu Chirande, a pediatric hematologist-oncologist and graduate from the original program in Uganda.
“It is very exciting to see that the initial investment by St. Baldrick’s Foundation in global pediatric oncology is producing leaders who are transforming access to quality pediatric cancer care in Africa. This is perhaps the best example of how the commitment of St. Baldrick’s Foundation’s donors can rapidly multiply to impact an enormous number of children and families worldwide,” said Dr. Joseph Lubega.
Dr. Lubega speaks at the launch of the fellowship program in Uganda earlier this month.
Originally posted in 2016: Lack of diagnosis, poor care, staggering drug costs, a deficit in specialized medical training for doctors — all of these factors make survival rare for a kid with cancer in Africa.
But St. Baldrick’s researcher Dr. Joseph Lubega hopes to change that with a pioneering program that will train a new wave of East African pediatricians in children’s oncology and hematology.
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