More children are surviving cancer in Amarillo than nationally.
Childhood cancer and leukemia survival rates are at 80 percent nationwide. Giving Pediatric Oncologist's a good problem to have, beating the long term effects of the disease, not just surviving it. And they're doing that with long term drug treatment programs.
Dr. Osvaldo Rigueira says "we are more capable of giving it by intravenous routes, we have devices that we can implant under the skin that make it a lot easier a lot safer to give those drugs, we have things that allow us to continue to monitor those drugs so we don't give to much."
Dr. Rigueira says the most effective drug treatments provide the lowest risks and minimize the use of chemotherapy and radiation therapy in children.
"Trying to give these chemotherapy agents that effect the fast growing cancer cells and do not harm the good cells as much as possible."
Dr. Rigueira says what's hurting the success rate is people not getting medical help and seeking alternative treatments.
"Unfortunately that happens still and the longer you wait, if you don't get attention soon because the more you wait, the lower the success rate, especially in children. "
The Centers for Disease Control say the new case rates are the same, but survival rates are improving.