By Associated Press: 12:02 p.m. EST, Dec 17, 2008
CLYDE, OHIO: State officials say they will begin monitoring air and water in a northern Ohio town where there are a surprisingly high number of children with cancer.
At least 18 children in the Sandusky County town of Clyde have been diagnosed with cancer in recent years.
Ohio Environmental Protection Agency director Chris Korleski says he's making this his top priority.
He says air and water monitoring will start by January.
State health department officials also are analyzing where the children live and where they have spent their time since birth. That report is expected to be ready in April.
Still, officials are cautioning residents that the odds are against finding out what is causing childhood cancer rates to be higher in the Clyde area because it's not known what causes most child cancer cases.
Shannon Nabors, chief of the Northwest District of the Ohio EPA, said, "We don't know what causes the vast majority of childhood cancers."
So do we continue to spend our money hoping for the "miracle cure", or do we focus on saving 50, then 100, then 200, and more. Small steps, with consistent results. It's all a matter of perspective.
Now, if you are still big on numbers, let me offer another perspective. This one comes from A.J.'s dad. A.J. and my son, both 15, were both diagnosis with the same cancer last year. A.J.'s dad gives perspective on numbers. However his numbers are not on people saves, but years of life saved. The average age of a patient with adult cancer is 65, while the average for childhood cancer is 7. He has multiplied the number of patients by the number of years of life lost. You can see his chart here. His research shows that childhood cancer, although always called "rare", is one of the most devastating deceases in our nation in terms of years lost.
Despite these facts, the need for childhood cancer research continues to be ignored. I guess it's all a matter of perspective.