Foundation ThinkAgain provides rehabilitation
therapies to children severely affected by cancer, brain tumors, and the
treatments used to cure them.
Because of significant advances in therapy, about 80% of children
diagnosed with cancer under the age of 15 will survive their
disease. We owe this remarkable success to treatment options that
include surgical resection, systemic chemotherapy, central nervous
system chemotherapy, radiation (local, cranial-spinal, or whole
body) as well as bone marrow and stem cell transplants. This
success rate however, comes with a substantial cost to the
cognitive and academic functioning of many of our survivors.
First, in addition to complications of treatment that may include
infection, neutropenia, and endocrine disorders, the majority of
these children miss anywhere from 1 to 2 years of school. Further,
a large percentage of these children develop
late-effects from their treatment, including
neurological changes. These changes represent injuries to the
brain, with subsequent disorders in the areas of memory,
visual and perceptual motor skills, processing speed, receptive
and expressive language and attention, to name a few. Schools can
sometimes accommodate our children, but are unable to address or
remediate these types of disorders, and insurance
coverage is usually severely limited, if available at all.
While it should be a
time of celebration, getting back into life following treatment
for cancer and brain tumors is especially difficult when
accompanied by cognitive difficulties. With proper and
expedient intervention through rehabilitation therapies funded by
Foundation ThinkAgain, these children can return to school better
prepared for learning, truly celebrate their survival, and give
them hope for a more successful and productive adulthood.