Imagination provides refuge for children faced with adversity. Fantasy worlds create an escape from the bumps and bruises of everyday life. And when the new Jimmy Everest Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders in Children opens in August, Oklahoma's children will travel the lengthy road to cancer recovery amid bright colors, animal-shaped beds and miniature furniture.
Beyond the comforting environment of the academic medical facility is the stark reality that children and adolescents treated at a cancer center specifically focused on children have up to a 20 percent better chance for a cure. Even more encouraging is the dramatic improvement in overall cancer cure rates for children. Three decades ago, cancer cure rates ran at 50 percent. Now, depending on the cancer type, 80 percent or more survive when treated at the Jimmy Everest Center.
As part of Children's Oncology Group-the world's largest cancer research collaboration-the Jimmy Everest Center has access to the very latest research and treatments. This becomes extremely important when searching for answers in childhood cancer treatment. Compared to the hundreds of thousands of adult cancer cases diagnosed annually, U.S. children only account for about 12,000 new cases with an estimated 100 children in Oklahoma diagnosed each year.
"At any given moment we are conducting clinical trials on just about every form of cancer affecting children," says William Meyer, M.D., head of pediatric cancer services. "Access to the world's medical knowledge coupled with our own leading research findings and cancer treatment provides kids and their families an extra measure of hope for a successful recovery."
Because OU Children's Physicians never rest until they find the answer, Oklahoma's children can enjoy increasingly better odds of beating cancer. Knowledge and expertise, however, are only part of what the center offers children and their families.
"No question, this state-of-the-art facility will expand our already vast ability to collaborate with leading childhood cancer researchers both here and abroad," Dr. Meyer says. "But it also will help us provide another level of patient care in helping families cope with millions of concerns. Our comprehensive cancer care approach for the entire family certainly will continue to thrive along with our ability to find new ways to keep our children and teenagers healthy."
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