CRYSTAL CITY, Va--Candle-lighters Childhood Cancer Foundation, headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, met to celebrate its 25th anniversary, to update the 550 parents and children with cancer who attended the meeting, and to honor individuals and organizations making a contribution to childhood cancer research.
CRYSTAL CITY, Va--Candle-lighters Childhood Cancer Foundation,headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, met to celebrate its 25thanniversary, to update the 550 parents and children with cancerwho attended the meeting, and to honor individuals and organizationsmaking a contribution to childhood cancer research.
Candlelighters provides information and assistance to help peoplecope with the effects of childhood cancer. Elisabeth Spoerl, president,said that the organization is "an important leader in thepediatric oncology community. It has an international networkof more than 400 groups and 40,000 individual members."
Since Candlelighters is both a support and an advocacy group,many participants visited their congressional representativesas part of their conference agenda, to urge Congress to supportpediatric clinical trials. They were encouraged to do so by StaceyBeckhardt, director of government relations, American Societyof Clinical Oncology, and Kerrie Wilson of the American CancerSociety's government relations staff.
Ms. Beckhardt said that 60% to 70% of children with cancer aretreated within the context of a clinical trial. "They dobetter than kids who do not have the advantage of clinical trialparticipation," she said.
She noted that one of the reasons pediatric oncologists may hesitateto recommend treatment via a clinical trial, and parents may hesitateto enroll their child, is because of the perception that insurancecompanies refuse to pay for the cost of treatment in trials.
"The truth is that most insurers are already covering mostclinical trials," Ms. Beckhardt said. She asked the parentsin the audience to make three major points in their visit to Congress:
Candlelighters gave its awards for achievements in childhood cancerto the following: