Brain Cancer has replaced Leukemia as the leading cause of cancer death in children and teenagers, according to a new report by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The findings reflect recent advancements in treating Leukemia as opposed to increased deaths from brain cancer, according to researchers. The reversal is still troubling for parents of brain cancer victims who want to see better treatment options available.
"There's a lot of kids getting sick and people come to me for advice, 'where should my child go? What should we do? What is the first thing when my child is diagnosed? What do I do?'" said Bree Rowand.
Rowand, an Alpine mom who lost her daughter Kylie to brain cancer nearly 2 years ago, raises money and awareness through the Kyle Strong foundation named after her daughter.
Her daughter’s journey gained national attention through a Facebook page detailing the baby’s fight for life.
“She just consumes my life basically,” said Rowand whose foundation now helps other families and donates money towards pediatric brain cancer research.
While Oncologists made enormous strides in recent decades developing effective chemotherapy regimens for Leukemia patients, the challenges for treating brain cancer patients remain.
"A lot of it is because of this thing called the ‘blood brain barrier’ which limits certain drugs and molecules into the brain,” said Dr. John Crawford, Director of Neuro-oncology at Rady Children's Hospital.
“It’s a filter and so the chemotherapy that children get for leukemia can be very similar for what they receive for brain tumors, but the chemotherapy has better penetration in the blood against the blood cancer than it does against the brain cancer," Crawford said.
Crawford see between 50 and 60 brain cancer patients a year at Rady Children’s Hospital and says on average between 10 and 15 kids per year will die from the disease.
"I think it is important we raise attention because with our combined efforts, I think we have a real success at beating this disease," he said.
The new status as the number 1 cancer killer of children, may help with fundraising efforts to combat brain cancer which impacts 1 out of every 20,000 kids nationwide.
Rowand’s latest fundraising help came from “The Daily Method”, a Rancho Bernardo Fitness Studio which offered free classes to customers so they could donate to the Kylie Strong Foundation.
"There are 12 childhood cancers and thousands of subtypes of childhood cancers and with all those cancers kids are only getting 4 percent of the national budget for all those cancers" said Rowand.
“They need more you know.”