It is hard to slow little Juan Carlos down, for anything.
But when it comes to taking medication, the 4-year old takes it seriously. A few weeks ago, Juan Carlos was diagnosed with cancer.
“It was a silent illness. Juan Carlos was tired. When we went to the pediatrician, his blood was crazy. That was so hard - but I remember that day; them explaining everything about leukemia,” says his mother, Liudeibys Lopez.
While heart-wrenching to hear, expectations are good. Juan Carlos was admitted to Golisano Children’s Hospital for treatment. He is now an outpatient.
“The outcome for pediatric has improved so well that when you talk to families you’re giving them hope rather than despair,” says Dr. Emad Salman, pediatric oncologist with Golisano Children’s Hospital.
Overall pediatric cancers have much better outcomes than adult cancers. Leukemia is a shining success story; the vast majority of kids who get it will live to see adulthood.
“As of a few months ago the outcome for pediatric leukemia was 92% and that’s the cure rate for pediatric leukemia. We’re talking about an improvement from less than 10% in the 1960s to over 92% in 2010,” says Dr. Salman.
Credit goes to caring doctors and research. Children’s cancers are treated with strict, scientific protocols. Meaning each child goes through a time tested medical regimen.
“It is a prescribed routine. It is based on research. It is based on evidence. We have proven that this works and we’re trying to answer the question whether more or less of the treatment could give the same results without side effects,” says Dr. Salman.
Boys are treated for 3 1/2 years. Juan Carlos still has a long way to go. He’s lost and re-grown his hair, takes medicine every day, without missing a beat.
“He’s been the same boy. I’m really sure he’s going to be fine,” says Lopez.