Childhood Cancer Initiatives 2021

New Hampshire and the Northeast have some of the highest childhood cancer rates in the country, according to a 2018 paper by Dr. David Siegel at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This finding and the results of a prior investigation into higher than expected rates of childhood cancers in the New Hampshire Seacoast area had generated concerns about possible environmental causes of these cancers. In response, the New Hampshire State Legislature set aside funds to explore childhood cancer issues in the Granite State. This state funding allowed a multi-disciplinary team led by the New Hampshire State Cancer Registry to conduct several projects relating to childhood cancer, including the presentation of a free and virtual New Hampshire Childhood Cancer Conference on June 10, 2021 which was advertised through NAACCR and attracted the registration of more than 157 cancer registrars. In all, the conference was attended by 344 including physicians, nurses, legislators, survivors and their families, and other community members.

The conference kicked off with introductory remarks by New Hampshire Governor Christopher Sununu, and brought together a group of speakers with diverse expertise and experiences, including national experts from Harvard Medical School, Baylor College of Medicine, University of Minnesota, and the University of Southern California, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, and local experts from the Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth. Talks about the patient experience were given by Caitlin Reilly Smith, MPH, from Concord, NH, a public health professional and mother of a pediatric cancer survivor, and Taylor McDonald from Weare, NH a pediatric cancer survivor and graduate of the Boston University Class of 2021. Academic presentations included the causes of childhood cancer by Dr. Logan Spector of the University of Minnesota; the epidemiology of rhabdomyosarcoma by Dr. Philip Lupo of Baylor College of Medicine; environmental health by Dr. Alan Woolf of Harvard Medical School; poverty and childhood cancer outcomes by Kira Bona of Harvard Medical School; and therapeutic approaches to treat pediatric cancer by Dr. Lee Helman of the Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles. Dr. Judy Rees of the New Hampshire State Cancer Registry and Dr. Angela Ricci of the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth presented preliminary results from childhood cancer initiatives in New Hampshire, including an analysis of national childhood cancer data, a childhood cancer survivorship study, a literature review of the causes of childhood cancer, and the development of a web-based dashboard to present radiation monitoring data in the region of New Hampshire’s nuclear power plant.

The conference recording links can be found below (CE credits are not available for on-line review)

Welcome from Dr. Steven Leach, Governor Sununu & Dr. Bonnie Lau; Caitlin Smith: “The Story of Bravery”
(31 minutes)

Dr. Logan Spector: “The Causes of Childhood Cancer in Brief”
(55 minutes)

Dr. Philip Lupo: “Disentangling the Epidemiology of Rhabdomyosarcoma”
(54 minutes)

Drs. Judy Rees & Angela Ricci: “Childhood Cancer Initiatives in New Hampshire”
(51 minutes)

Taylor McDonald: “A Survivor’s Experience”
(15 minutes)

Dr. Alan Woolf: “The Environment, New Hampshire Kids, & Cancer Prevention: Challenges & Opportunities”
(54 minutes)

Dr. Kira Bona: “Poverty and Childhood Cancer Outcomes: A Target for Novel Intervention”
(56 minutes)

Dr. Lee Helman: “Rhabdomyosarcoma - A Model for Future Therapeutic Approaches to Treat Pediatric Cancer”
(58 minutes)

Whitney Hammond & Interactive Panel Discussion
(67 minutes)