By Matt Burgess and Harriet Alexander – SMH.
Four cancer survivors tell their incredible stories – showing how modern treatments can keep people alive.
Maria Psaradellis was diagnosed with cancer on her neck when she was just 11 weeks old.
Thanks to her mother’s instinct that something serious was wrong and a quick diagnosis from her doctor she was treated quickly and has now made a full recovery.
Asked about her treatment, Maria has mixed memories. “I was a bit scared, but mummy told me that it was over. But I was still in hospital and I was awake.” However, she also remembers some good things. “My favourite food in hospital was cucumber and chocolate.”
If Maria had been born 20 years ago, her mother agrees the outcome would have been very different.
“I don’t think she would have ever made it out of the first hospital,” she says. “[It’s] just astronomical every year how much research does for all the different types of drugs … and how it targets different cancers.”
Although Maria’s story is extraordinary, it is also reflective of the immense strides in the treatment and prevention of cancer that have raised the prospect that some types of the disease will be cured within a generation.
More people are now surviving cancer in Australia than dying from it, with the disease striking one in two people but only killing one in five before the age of 85, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
Australian Cancer Research Foundation chief executive Ian Brown says dramatic increases in cancer survival rates are being driven by new research projects, and cervical cancer has already been cured by the invention of a vaccine.
Other promising research includes a project that will allow doctors to treat children’s cancer cells outside the body to avoid exposing them to toxic treatments and software that can track the movement of tumours to reduce by half the amount of radiation that will be needed…read more and watch the video.