Alex H. Michigan

DIPG Cancer Research

DIPG is a pediatric brain tumor found in young children. When diagnosed the child is given on average fifteen months to live. Prognosis and treatment is the same today as it was 40 years ago. We need to find a way to remove this tumor or increase the survival rate because these children are America's future and we need to do something to help them.

Dear Mr./Mrs. President,

While confined in our world top of the class doctors, it seems as if they can save anyone from anything. I seldom question their research because of the people so close to my heart that have been helped and saved. I’ve always figured there were better things to think about, until, a teacher at my highschool altered my thoughts on this “top of the class doctor” day dream I’ve had. Don’t get me wrong, the doctors here are amazing; but, they are only amazing in certain aspects of the job.

Research on big time diseases like cancers has changed dramatically, the survival rate for cancer since the 1960’s has gone through the roof. For example, survival rates for children with acute lymphocytic leukemia has gone from under 10% to nearly 90% today (,Michael Mosier). Although, this triumphant victory I heard of was quickly extinguished by a very sad story my teacher told me.

Her niece who was right around the age of three when they were having some problems. They took her in and found out she had a pediatric brain tumor called Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG). This cancerous tumor is found at the bottom of the brainstem which controls the body's most vital functions like, breathing, blood pressure, and heart rate (, Dana Fraber). Trying to remove this tumor could prove fatal but not doing anything at all will also prove fatal.

While some cancers today are nearly curable and the survival rate for children with cancer is around 83%, advances in cancer has done nothing for DIPG. A child diagnosed today will have the same prognosis as a child diagnosed forty years ago. There has yet to be an effective treatment leaving only 10% of those diagnosed to survive for two years, and less than 1% survive for five years. After diagnosis the child is given approximately 9 months to live.

My teacher's niece fought and battled hard for one year before she grew her angel wings. Stories like my teachers are popping up everywhere, such as Chad Carr who battled for fifteen months before passing away. Cancer research should focus on a cancer like this that is giving children no chance to live their life before they are taken from us with the hands of God.


Alex Hunt

Clarkston Community Schools

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