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March 27, 1987

Suffer the Little Children: The Battle Against Childhood Cancer

Author Affiliations

University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago

University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago

JAMA. 1987;257(12):1657. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03390120119046

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This compact monograph written for the lay audience begins with the tale of two children—one who fights gallantly and dies, and the other who is living a full life 22 years after the diagnosis of leukemia. The successes and failures so common and yet mysterious to those who treat children with cancer appear as a number of vignettes throughout the text.

The author gives the reader an over-view of the problem of childhood malignant disorders. Included are the statistical facts and a brief discussion of leukemia and common solid tumors. A succinct chapter graphically details the shock and disbelief of parents at the time of diagnosis. The discussion of the integrated therapy of radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery is balanced. The author repeatedly stresses that the chemotherapy combination is determined by the tumor and that all therapy is not alike. A reasoned denouncement of the use of amygdalin (laetrile) is made,