What's our basis for demanding #MoreThan4 from the National Cancer Institute?

One important piece of data is that an average of 71 years of life is lost when a child dies of cancer. It’s one of 3 good reasons why 4% funding from NCI is not enough:

1 - they are kids
2 - 71 life-years lost when a child dies of cancer
3 - they are kids!!

Besides the obvious, the years of life lost is important because medical economists use it to calculate the total "burden" of the disease, or the total "person-years-life-lost" (PYLL) for the various cancers, adult and children. It's essentially a normalizing of the data to allow comparison of the burden of different diseases.

This is what NCI says about it: "Death rates alone do not provide a complete picture of the burden that deaths impose on the population. Another useful measure that may add a different dimension is PYLL — the years of life lost because of early death from a particular cause or disease. PYLL caused by cancer helps to describe the extent to which life is cut short by cancer. On average, each person who died from cancer in 2007 lost an estimated 15.4 years of life." Kids, of course, average 71 years of life lost.

PAC2 has conservatively (we only used 66 years lost for children) compared NCI funding dollars to the number of Person-Years-Life-Lost (PYLL) for the top killer cancers of adults (excluding lung cancer) and childhood cancers. (e.g., $ funded/PYLL) Below find historic NCI data for the two leading causes of death for adult males and females (excluding lung cancer) and childhood cancers.

The data shows that:

- Prostate cancer receives over $10,000 per year life lost, even though the average age of diagnosis is 68 and 97% of those males survive five-years, which is beyond the average life span for males.
- Colo-rectal cancers receive nearly $5,000 per year life lost, even though the average age of diagnosis is 71, meaning on average each case would only live one year.
- Breast cancer, with 275,000 total life years lost, receives $599.5 million, or $2,172 per year life lost.
- Childhood cancers, with 205,008 total life years lost, receives $192.8 million, or $940 per year life lost.

THAT is what Dr. Eugenie Kleinerman - Head, Division of Pediatrics, MD Anderson Cancer Center means when she says: "Curing childhood cancer is the equivalent of curing breast cancer in terms of productive life years saved."

And THAT is why we need Congress to #StepUp and direct more funding for childhood cancer research. To account for the PLYY of our kids, and simply fund childhood cancer research to the level it deserves based on the disease burden. That, and the fact they are kids..........

The full PYLL post on NCI funding is found at http://bit.ly/ncifundingmoreliesdamnliesandstatistics

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