September 22, 2021 – September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Being diagnosed with cancer is devastating, but it’s even worse when cancer affects a child. Yet, it’s estimated that approximately 10,500 cases of pediatric cancer will be diagnosed in 2021 with 1,190 children dying as a result, making cancer the most common cause of death in children less than 14 years of age.
Although such numbers are alarming, there is reassuring news about childhood cancers. First, the death rate for pediatric cancer has steadily declined – by 65 percent – in the last four decades. Second, many of these childhood cancers can be treated effectively and even cured – more than 80 percent of childhood cancers are now cured. Leukemia, brain tumors and lymphoma are the most common childhood malignancies.
Medical imaging plays a major role in the detection, staging, response evaluation, recurrence monitoring, outcome prediction and assessment of both acute and late sequelae of treatment. Although many imaging modalities are available to perform these tasks, the issue of radiation exposure in children, especially as a potential cause of secondary malignant neoplasm, has greatly influenced the type of imaging favored for childhood cancer.
Task forces have been charged with establishing the optimal imaging modality, and a consensus is emerging on the role of whole-body MR Imaging given the lack of risks from ionizing radiation. Another advantage is its ability to provide a large field-of-view lending itself to serial examination. The variety of sequences and imaging planes that can be tailored to specific cancers or syndromes, also make MRI the ideal imaging modality for childhood malignancies. If MRI is not an option, consultation should take place among various specialties to recommend alternative imaging modalities such as CT, ultrasound or molecular imaging (PET).
As the largest-oncology-focused imaging CRO, Imaging Endpoints has witnessed the devastating impact of childhood cancer and encourages families to seek regular checkups and appropriate treatment when and if symptoms develop. Imaging Endpoints has helped bring new drugs to market that are saving children’s lives, and we are currently assisting in the development of new, potentially life-saving therapies. To learn more about how Imaging Endpoints is helping families in their cancer battle, visit ImagingEndpoints.com.