Local teen shares story of overcoming leukemia
08-30-2012 (Dayton, OH) -
When Katie Hollingsworth of New Paris, OH was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 14, her mother Samantha Alcorn was thankful their family was able to receive care close to home, right here in Dayton, OH.
The Comprehensive Care Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at The Children’s Medical Center of Dayton is one of only 11 accredited pediatric cancer care programs in the nation housed in a freestanding children’s hospital. During the month of September, Dayton Children’s is joining with the rest of the country in honoring National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, a time to come together and highlight the research being done to cure childhood cancer.
Each year, more than 40,000 children undergo treatment for cancer. In the last 40 years, the overall survival rate for children’s cancer has increased from 10 percent to 78 percent.
While treatments for childhood cancer have greatly improved over the past decades, cancer is still the leading cause of death by disease for children in America under the age of 15. In 2011, Dayton Children’s saw 54 newly diagnosed cases of cancer. Currently, the hematology and oncology specialists at Dayton Children’s see over 400 patients for either therapy treatment or follow-up appointments.
The most common form of cancer seen both nationally and at Dayton Children’s is leukemia; making up more than one-third of all childhood cancer cases. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common childhood cancer and accounts for almost 80 percent of all childhood leukemia cases. The overall survival rate for ALL is currently 45 to 60 percent.
In order to provide the best care to children in the Dayton region, the team at Dayton Children’s is part of the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) and follows national approved protocols for cancer treatment. Katie Hollingsworth, one of this year’s child ambassadors for Dayton Children’s has experienced this firsthand.
At age 14 Katie was diagnosed with acute myelocytic leukemia (AML). AML is a form of leukemia that is not very common in children and has only 40 percent survival odds.
“When I found out I had cancer and would have to have chemotherapy I was really scared about losing my hair,” says Katie. “I never thought what if I die. I just told myself I was going to get through this.”
Katie began seeing Emmet Broxson, MD, medical director of hematology and oncology at Dayton Children’s. Katie and her parents agreed to participate in a Children’s Oncology Group (COG) clinical trial during which she underwent five rounds of chemotherapy. She faced a number of other complications throughout her treatments which required her to stay in the pediatric intensive care unit at Dayton Children’s.
Now at age 16, Katie is in remission and living the life of a normal teenage girl. Because Katie was a part of the COG clinical trial, changes have been made to the type of chemotherapy she underwent. Patients now only have to receive four rounds of the treatment and avoid that fifth round which caused so many problems for Katie.
“I like to think that I was a part of that change,” says Katie. “It’s going to help a lot of kids who wouldn’t have made it through that round.”
“Too many children and their families have faced the harmful effects of cancer;” says President Barack Obama in his proclamation naming September National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. “In memory of the young lives taken from us far too soon, and in honor of the families who stood beside them, we continue to support researchers, doctors, and advocates working to improve treatments, find cure, and reach a tomorrow where all our children can lead full and healthy lives.”
For more information on how to help raise awareness about childhood cancer during the month of September and the rest of the year, please visit www.curesearch.org. CureSearch for Children’s Cancer is a national non-profit foundation whose mission is to fund and support children’s cancer research and provide information and resources to all those affected by children’s cancer.
About the Children’s Oncology Group
Dayton Children’s is one of more than 200 COG hospitals worldwide. COG research has turned children’s cancer from a virtually incurable disease 40 years ago to one with an overall cure rate of 78 percent. COG hospitals treat 90 percent of children with cancer in the Unites States providing the unmatched combination of global expertise and local care. This means that every child and care team has complete access to the latest research and world-class treatments at hospitals within their region. For more information visit www.curesearch.org.
About Dayton Children's program
The Comprehensive Care Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders cares for children, teens and young adults, through 21 years of age. Dayton Children's pediatric cancer program partners with the Children's Oncology Group and follows nationally approved protocols for cancer treatment. This allows us to provide the infants, children and teens treated at Dayton Children's with the most current, state-of-the-art cancer treatments available.
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