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TMU founds first-of-its-kind cancer program

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taipei Medical University (TMU) yesterday announced its establishment of Taiwan's first pediatric oncology clinical program.

To be led by pediatric oncology expert Dr. James S. Miser, the program will provide complete services to children suffering from cancer, as well as to their parents.

Attending physician at the TMU's pediatric hematology and oncology department Liu Yen-lin (劉彥麟) said that Taiwan has made notable advancements in the treatment of pediatric cancer, especially leukemia, through the work of the Childhood Cancer Foundation (CCF) and local hospitals.

“Even though Taiwan's medical treatments for pediatric cancer patients have improved,” Liu said, “30 to 50 percent of pediatric patients in Taiwan suffering from solid tumors cannot fully recover.”

“TMU's new program on pediatric oncology specifically focuses on the research and treatment of solid tumors and Dr. Miser, who was the convener of Children's Cancer Study Group, will lead the team in conducting more clinical research in order to improve the outcome of pediatric cancer treatments,” Liu added.

Also speaking yesterday, Miser said: “Over the last 40 years, there have been significant improvements in the care of children suffering from cancer and over 80 percent of children are cured from cancer in most developed countries.

“However, cancer was still the second-leading cause of death for children in Taiwan in 2012 according to Department of Health statistics,” Miser said, “which shows that cancer is still a big threat to children here.”

“We have a real opportunity in Taiwan to contribute to the improvement in the outcome and survival of childhood cancer and also to improve their quality of life through the TMU's research and program.”

Another focus of the TMU's program, according to Miser, is to pay attention to the side effects of tough cancer treatments on children, providing great support for children and their families with the hope of successful treatment.

The team plans out each treatment, Miser noted, keeping in mind the patient's development as a young adult.

According to Department of Health statistics published this month, 102 children died from malignancies in 2012, which placed malignancies as the leading cause of death in the disease category.

CCF statistics show that around 500 children are diagnosed with cancer each year in Taiwan. Leukemia is the most common childhood cancer.

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Taipei Medical University President Yen Yun (閻雲), third right, and chief professor of the university's College of Medical Science & Technology Dr. James S. Miser, second right, pose at a press conference in Taipei, yesterday. Taipei Medical University has announced the establishment of Taiwan's first pediatric oncology clinical program. (CNA)

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