Some 80% of paediatric cancers are cured.1 See? Not as bad as the charities would have you believe. Those black and white adverts of 3 year olds going head to head with the grim reaper are a bit misleading. Children have a much better success rate than adults and have fewer side effects, because their bodies are still growing.
Cancer in childhood is rare, but in fact 1 in 333 children will have had cancer by their 15th birthday.1 And surprisingly, cancer is the leading cause of non-accidental death in kids. This daunting area of medicine—one of the largest specialties within paediatrics—is also one of the most colourful and well supported. I spent two weeks on a paediatric oncology ward and loved it. I met so many characters. Some even had celebrity status. Particular kids showed great resilience and I found them truly engaging.
Have you ever seen a pair