Autism and Cancer

Autism now occurs in every 1 in 150 children, according to figures released in February of 2007 by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. To illustrate what some term an “autism epidemic” (including three presidential candidates), people regularly compare the prevalence rate of children diagnosed with autism to that of children diagnosed with childhood cancer (1.5 per 10,000 children) or to the rate of children who have three diseases, “pediatric cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined. (And you can go here to review the NIH’s estimated funding for various diseases, conditions, and research areas.)

The purpose of comparing the autism rate to that of childhood cancer and other diseases is to convey how pervasive autism has become (or seems to have become). An unfortunate side-effect is that some say that having autism is worse than having cancer. A post last year from Not Mercury addresses this comparison head-on:

For those who are new to autism, I strongly advise thinking long and hard about the similarities and many, many differences between having a child diagnosed with autism and learning that your child has cancer.

There have many been great advances in the treatment of pediatric cancers in recent years, and survival rates continue to increase as new drugs and treatment modalities are discovered, but survivors and their families will always live with specter of relapse and secondary health complications from the very treatments that saved their lives. CANCER is a scary word because most people associate the word with DEATH. Another scary word.

Autism, on the other hand, is never a fatal condition, though many autistic people may require extra help to recognize and avoid dangerous situations.

One argument offered for why “autism is worse than cancer” is that people with autism live a normal life-span, and so have to live with this awful disorder for their whole lives: These notions assume that living with autism is so awful that it’s tantamount to a fate worse than death.

It’s certainly possible to read accounts of autism like that, but that is not what you’ll read here. Life raising my son has not been easy and there’s always a lot of sad, painful, wrenching, tough moments—and like I said yesterday in reference to mother guilt, lots of happy, sappiness, fun and good times. Nothing beats watching Charlie turn somersaults in the pool or trying to wheedle me into buying four packs of sushi, or calling out “Dad’s black shoes” and running to put them by his bed.

More b5media blogs on cancer can be read at Help My Hurt.

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    • Annie

      So interesting… my husband and I were just talking about an autism/cancer analogy last night. It was in context of me reading an article in the most recent Autism Advocate, that was suggesting a treatment-based approach to the study of autism, as in, what treatments work best for people with what commonalities in their autism (and should we be talking about “autisms” rather than a monolithic or a smooth-spectrum approach). I’m not doing the article justice here, still need to read it more closely. But still.

      Anyway, the autism/cancer analogy we were making was how ridiculous it would be to evaluate treatments for cancer without regard to what KIND of cancer was being treated. Perhaps one day there will be some similar differentiation for “autisms” too?

      I agree that the autism/cancer analogy can quickly devolve. Of *course* our daughter’s autism diagnosis is a very different thing from a cancer diagnosis. Good grief! But on the other hand, analogies can help us figure things out and think of things in new ways. Analogies don’t have to be perfect to be helpful…

      Thanks for nudging me to think about the autism/cancer thing a bit more!

    • Cliff

      I’d actually wonder if the “autism/cancer” analogy existed not for the rates of comparison (childhood cancer hasn’t entered the national consciousness) but for the described “potency”, which leads to all of those degrading metaphors. Usually the advocation of homicide against autistics is subtle and subconscious; it certainly isn’t subtle here, though perhaps (in a shocking anecdote for the lack of human ability to think things through) not conscious. Ah, we have a ways to go.

      I suppose there may be value in seeing it in terms of (and only in terms of, please!) type of condition, which may be true, I don’t know. I think it’s also more obscure because out methods of seeing that are strictly behavioral, which doesn’t work out quite as well. But the hypothesis, though relatively untestable, is solid, and has been discussed a little.


    • Lynne

      My son has Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, which increases his risk for kidney and liver cancer, and we are moving toward a probable diagnosis of Asperger’s as well. I find the autism/cancer comparison upsetting. IMO, the possibility of AS is nowhere near as scary as the possibility of cancer! Maybe I see it differently because we’re in the ‘possible’ stage for both, but AS is something I know we can manage with the speech/ot/behavioral therapies we’re already using and different parenting techniques as we move forward. It won’t be easy, but we’ll learn and he’ll live. Cancer is … frightening. Even when it is survivable, the treatment is brutal. As much as I worry about my son and what he’ll have to overcome with AS, it is nothing compared to the fear I feel the night before one of his regular ultrasounds to screen for tumors.

    • brstpathdoc

      Anybody who drops such a metaphor so lightly hasn’t spent much time around pediatric cancer patients. These children suffer. Even the curable cancers require nasty chemotherapy with unpleasant side effects. My heart bleeds every time I see these kids (my office is directly adjacent to where these kids get blood draws, and I hear the screams and need an immediate coffee break). My daughter has autism, but doesn’t suffer. She’s a pretty happy little girl. Any person who suggests cancer is preferable to autism reflects stupid so concentrated it bends time and space. It’s an insult to these brave kids and their parents who cope with problems I shrink even to think about.

    • ebohlman

      Several thoughts:
      1) Most of those prevalence comparisons are simply meaningless. Childhood cancer is and always has been a very rare phenomenon (how common something is and how tragic it is are two completely different things). Pediatric AIDS in the Western world is nearly extinct, thanks to better understanding of how to prevent maternal transmission and testing of blood products. So it’s really disingenuous to say that autism spectrum disorders (something that, by definition, occur during childhood) are more common than some disorders that hardly any children ever get.

      2) Annie is right that the only meaningful comparison you can make between “autism” and “cancer” is that they’re both words that are used to describe a wide variety of conditions that have some similarities but many differences. They’re umbrella terms, and umbrella terms always have the risk of encouraging us to commit the logical fallacy of reification, namely the fallacy of treating an abstract concept (or worse, a mere label) as if it were a physical reality. (The daycare witch-hunts of the 1980s were at least partially the result of the fact that in English, both the sexual violation of a child and the detrimental overconsumption of alcohol are described as “abuse.” This led to the assumption that children who had been molested would behave similarly to alcoholics, in particular that they’d be “in denial” and their statements that daycare workers hadn’t inappropriately touched them should be taken as evidence that they actually had. In this case, the word “abuse” refers to two completely different concepts, so there’s also the logical fallacy of equivocation.)

    • http://mayfly mayfly

      Causes of Death in Autism
      Journal Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
      Issue Volume 31, Number 6 / December, 2001

      Abstract The objective of this study was to determine which causes of death are more frequent in persons with autism, and by how much, compared with the general population. Subjects were 13,111 ambulatory Californians with autism, followed between 1983 and 1997. The units of study were person-years, each linked to the subject”s age, sex, and cause of death (if any) for the specific year. Observed numbers of cause-specific deaths were compared with numbers expected according to general population mortality rates. Standardized mortality rates (SMRs) were computed for each mental retardation level. Elevated death rates were observed for several causes, including seizures and accidents such as suffocation and drowning; elevated mortality due to respiratory disease was observed among persons with severe mental retardation. Overall, excess mortality was especially marked for persons with severe mental retardation, but life expectancy is reduced even for persons who are fully ambulatory and who have only mild mental retardation.

      From the article, the mortality rate = observed deaths/expected deaths * 100

      for males 167%
      for females 490%
      overall 213%

      Life expectancy for male autistics at 5 years old was reduced by 6.1 years for females the reduction is 12.3 years.

      A girl with autism is 16.8 times more likely to die between the ages of 5-10 as her NT counterparts.

      One cannot dismiss this, but of the 10,412 males in the study 1.4% died of the 2699 females 2.2% died.

      Looking at the survival rate for the most common childhood cancer

      The 5-year survival rate for ALL in children has greatly increased over time and is now more than 80%. This is mainly due to advances in treatment. The 5-year survival rate for children with AML has also increased over time, and is now more than 50%.

      That’s as of Oct 2007.

      These, I’d rather have my child have this condition are fruitless as there is no relationship between the conditions. For instance I would rather my daughter had had the measles, than autism. However if I could make that trade, I would not do so as I wouldn’t purposely put her in harm’s way.

      There’s a big difference in dealing with hypotheticals and actually taking the action. In hypotheticals one deals with the raw statistics, in a real situation one deals with one’s child.

      For childhood leukemia a 20% death rate is too much to consider even as a hypothetical.

      If there is anything to the “theory of mind”, i.e. autistics have problems figuring what other people are thinking, I find it and interesting tendency to ascribe subconscious evil to those with different opinions. People who would make the kind of deals discussed here are in no way advocating murder of autistics.

    • Kristina Chew, PhD

      A “logical fallacy of equivocation”—–as ebohlman wrote—-that has been my thought in reading the comparison of the autism rate to cancer and other conditions.

    • Ms. Clark

      It’s possible to degrade the value of a human life without actually planning to kill that person. After one has degraded the life of the other, the other is more likely to die because of abuse of neglect.

      I wonder how many of the girls were raped and then killed in a manner that would make it look like an accident? It’s possible.

      Disabled children are more likely to be abused than typically developing children. I would guess that they are more likely to be killed or neglected to the point of being more likely to die of an “accident” or disease.

      Yeah, lets degrade the value of autistic lives by saying they’d be better off dead. :-/ That’s the implication in saying I’d rather my child risk being exposed to a deadly disease than “risk” becoming autistic… cut to the chase, many people believe in their hearts that the only good autistic is a dead autistic. (see: “The only good Indian is a dead Indian”)

    • Mike

      I wonder why nobody looks at fluoride as the culprit. I know that fluoride is associated with cancer due to the fact it destroys over 100 important enzymes in the body. The more I look into this the more amazed I am at the total lack of concerted effort by the medical establishment to look at fluoride as a catalyst is not only cancer and autism but a long list of disease.

    • Joseph

      “I wonder why nobody looks at fluoride as the culprit.”

      There are people out there wondering why no one looks at french fries as a culprit, and a zillion of other things. Too many crazy theories, not that many resources. For a hypothesis to be taken seriously, it first needs to be plausible and then it needs to be written up in a journal. (If you can convince a certain group of parents that there’s money in it, they might make a lot of noise for you too).

      There’s one problem with most of these hypotheses, though. Their key premise is that there has been an autism epidemic. Since it’s clear there’s no such thing (is there a point going over the evidence anymore?) then these hypotheses don’t have a chance. The most promising hypotheses are ones that don’t depend on an epidemic, evidently.

    • Mike

      Come on Joseph, don’t insult my intelligence by comparing the second most toxic substance known to man and the substance that causes more enzyme damage than any other substance known to man (damaged over 100 enzymes) to french fries. Using the reducto ad absurdum debate style with me doesn’t work as I only ask questions that lend themselves to credible scientific scrutiny and of which I know the answer.

      You go on to say that for a hypothesis to be taken seriously, it has to be plausible. Okay, what about this study: In 1977, the U.S. Congress requested that animal studies be conducted to determine if fluoride can cause cancer. The result of the Congressional request was an extensive animal study conducted in the 1980s by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) and published in 1990.

      The principal finding of NTP’s study was a dose-dependent increase in osteosarcoma (bone cancer) among the fluoride-treated male rats.

      However, despite the fact that 1) the cancer occurred in the target organ (bone) for fluoride accumulation, that 2) the increase in bone cancer was statistically-significant, that 3) the doses of fluoride were low for an animal cancer study, and that 4) NTP acknowledged it is “biologically plausible” that fluoride could induce bone cancer, the NTP ruled that the study only provided “equivocal evidence” that fluoride was the cause of the cancer.

      According to a report in Chemical & Engineering News: “A number of government officials who asked not to be identified also have told C&EN that they have concerns about the conclusions of the NTP study. They, too, believe that fluoride should have been placed in the “some evidence” category, in part because osteosarcoma is a very rare form of cancer in rodents.”
      In 2002, the World Health Organization (WHO) advised scientists to take NTP’s finding seriously. According to the WHO: “Such a (dose-dependent) trend associated with the occurrence of a rare tumour in the tissue in which fluoride is known to accumulate cannot be casually dismissed.”

      In addition to increased bone cancer, the NTP study also found increases in rare liver cancers, oral cavity cancers and thyroid cancers among the fluoride-treated rats. The NTP ruled, however, that the cancers were not related to the fluoride treatment – despite reaching “statistical significance” in some of NTP’s analyses.

      Fluoride Linked to Bone Cancer in Fed Study – Medical Tribune December 28, 1989
      Don’t Drink the Water? – Newsweek February 5, 1990

      Caries preventative already has one rap against it – Medical Tribune February 22, 1990

      Rat Study Reignites Dispute On Fluoride – New York Times March 13, 1990

      Weak Link on Fluoride and Cancer Is Backed – New York Times April 27, 1990

      ACSH Considers Taking Legal Action Against Attempts to Reclassify Fluoride – Food Chemical News April 30, 1990

      The Risks of Fluoride: The Long Awaited Verdict Newsweek May 7, 1990

      Fluoride bioassay study under scrutiny – Chemical & Engineering News September 17, 1990

      More about fluoride – The Lancet September 22, 1990

      EPA Ordered to Reinstate Whistleblower – The Associated Press December 18, 1992

      Reich Orders EPA to Reinstate Scientist – National Whistleblower Center February 10, 1994

      Scientist Who Spoke Out on Fluoride Ordered Reinstated to Job – The Associated Press February 11, 1994

      Again, I ask, why are there not more fluoride studies?

    • Joseph

      “Come on Joseph, don’t insult my intelligence by comparing the second most toxic substance known to man”

      Don’t insult everyone’s intelligence by repeating the mistaken talking point that mercury is the second most toxic substance known to man. It’s not.

      “and the substance that causes more enzyme damage than any other substance known to man (damaged over 100 enzymes) to french fries. Using the reducto ad absurdum debate style with me doesn’t work as I only ask questions that lend themselves to credible scientific scrutiny and of which I know the answer.”

      There’s nothing your hypothesis has over the french fries hypothesis. Absolutely nothing. Shallow comparisons about what substance is more toxic are meaningless. What matters is the dose.

      “In 1977, the U.S. Congress requested that animal studies be conducted to determine if fluoride can cause cancer.”

      So? You don’t think french fries have all sorts of effects on health?

    • Mike

      Okay, let me put this in a way you might understand so that there is no confusion:

      1) Fluoride, not Mercury is second only to Arsnic in toxicity and MORE TOXIC THAN LEAD.

      2) Mercury is a well studied neurotoxin. It is not the only cause of Autism. There are many causes of autism, among them, genetic, fluoride gut enzyme damage, other gut enzyme damaging substances, mito-d factors, etc.

      3) There is an autism epidemic and the numbers go up year after year. Autism is a type of brain damage that can be measured and diagnosed. The number of new autism patients coincides with an increase in vaccines. More vaccines every year, more cases of autism. The latest CDC recommendation that children form 6 months get a Mercury laced flu shot (that adds 18 to the 37 other required shots over a child’s first 18 years) will do two things. Make the drug companies and doctors more money and cause more Autism.

      All in my first amendment right opinion of course.

    • Storkdok

      Wow, I have a visceral feeling from reading this. My first thoughts are, there is no comparison logically. Anyone who has lost a child from cancer, or even had to fight cancer and won, can tell you there is nothing else in the world that matters or can surpass this journey. I have been intimately involved in the treatment and care of cancer, some of my patients were young girls. I have listened and held their hands and their parents’ hands, I have been at their bedside when they died. THERE IS NO COMPARISON.

      But when I read this father’s journey, I thought, how very, very sad that his son was not diagnosed with any disorder until he was 15 years old, and even then inaccurately for years, did not get the proper education and services, didn’t get the right help even when he did finally get a correct diagnosis, and still can’t get help. Obviously, it has been a very traumatic 16 years or more for the whole family, especially the son. I don’t think the father doesn’t know what facing cancer in a child is like.

      But then I think about all the knowledgeable parents who’s children are getting services and still say cancer would be better than autism. Grrrrr. They ought to talk to one of my son’s former teachers at his autism preschool. Her son had an unusual growth on his skull bones, and had had a lot of surgery, but had no sure diagnosis from all the specialists in Maine and down in Boston. So I helped her get her son evaluated at Johns Hopkins with one of the neurosurgeons there that I know. Turns out they have a big multidisciplinary Grand Rounds and all concur he has a rare cancer of the skull, only seen/reported 5 times previously in the medical literature. He’s had radiation and surgery since then and no one knows how this will turn out. I bet she might have something to say about the comparison.

      Well, I am being serenaded by my son to come help him “because my colon is sick again.” Must go.

      Have a good evening!

    • stopautismquackery

      OH, for the Seeker of Truth and not the spouter of opinion.

    • Joseph

      Mike: You’re entitled to your opinion, but not your own facts.

    • stopautismquackery

      Poor Mike. Obviously he has to promote quackery and heap more prejudice upon autistic citizens in order to keep a roof over his head.


    • http://mayfly mayfly

      Ms. Clark, “The only good autistic is a dead autistic”, who thinks that. There are people who think their child is better off dead. But I doubt even they they transfer this to autistics in general. Thank God of the people who have these evil thoughts very few carry them out.

      The people who want to make such a trade expect their children to emerge autism free and healthy not autism free and dead.
      That being said, it was disturbing to see that a an autistic child with no or mild MR was 14.1 times more likely do die of drowning between the ages of 5-10 as an NT child. The statistic would be more damning if there were more than two such deaths in the survey.

      There was one death in the 5-10 of an autistic child with mild or no mental retardation. That’s 2.6 times the rate for NT children.

      For children with moderate or sever MR at 5-10 years old they were 90.6 times more likely to die. Between 10 and 20 they were 110.2 times more likely suffocate. The numbers of deaths were 3 and 4 respectively. It’s hard to demonstrate evil from these numbers.

      Autistics are around 35 times more likely to die of seizures. Perhaps some of these happen when caregivers purposely do not respond. But I have to think those numbers are very small.

      Looking at the numbers the evil which you appear to believe is rampant, appears to be very scarce.

    • http://mayfly mayfly

      Mike, we know what communities fluoridate their water, and we know when it started. It should be a simple task to compare autism rates before and after weeding out the confounders comparing communities which fluoridate with those which do not.

      I doubt you’ll see any difference. There are places which fluoridate with high autism frequencies, there are places which don’t which also have high autism rates

    • C. S. Wyatt

      I have been asked if I would have rather not been born. Generally speaking, I think being alive is much better than the alternative.

      The overwhelming stress caused by sensory inputs, the frustration with physical pain, and struggles to understand people are not pleasant. Seizures, headaches, palsy episodes, and behavioral ticks that only serve to isolate me aren’t easy to accept, either.

      Yet, I would rather struggle from time to time in return for the good days with my wife and my cats.

      Morons, including “philosophers” like Peter Singer, would suggest I’m not living a full life. I’m sure when I was considered slow and probably retarded, Singer and his ilk would have suggested my life was taking up valuable resources and causing my family undue misery.

      My life is actually pretty good, most of the time. That’s true for most people.

    • Michelle Z

      My daughter is 13. She has autism, and she was diagnosed this past November with a very rare type of ovarian cancer.

      I can’t even believe a comparison can be made between the two. Autism is part of her makeup, it’s part of who she is as a person. It’s not a disease, we don’t try to cure her. We try to give her tools to succeed in life – but we do that with our other children, too. Her ‘tools’ just need to be a little different.

      Cancer is scary and consuming and life-threatening. Not only is cancer scary, its treatment is harsh and toxic and the side-effects are awful.

      Seriously – I can’t even wrap my head around a way to compare the two, and for the past 6 months that’s been our life.

    • Cliff

      Yeah, moral imperative not to kill aside, “better off dead” usually involves the then next leap to “killing becomes good”. The imperative is strong enough, though, that even if people really don’t believe in it they’re not likely to do it in that kind of way.

      And, yeah, I hate these moral judgments about “the value of life”. Existence value based off of difficulty is ridiculous (and, as I’ve argued here before in one of my less-happy moments, it’s no less when arguing about “success” or “happiness”). I mean, is my life difficult? I can’t say it’s been a walk in the park, of course. But does that invalidate it? Almost the opposite.

      At base, doing a value judgment based off of perceived quality gets so close to some really horrible acts. I mean, I can use the argument to send nuclear missiles into warzones, because people there aren’t leading “quality” lives, and that “it’s better to be dead than be in distress”.

      Just sick.

      Oh, and I’ve said enough on the fluoride thesis. But was it relevant to this post? I don’t think so. We weren’t even talking about a culprit here, so please be relevant. I know I shouldn’t play moderator, but it just doesn’t belong here.


    • Cliff

      Oh, I’m sorry… best of luck for her and you. I’ll be thinking about you both. And, indeed, it’s not a fair comparison.


    • stopautismquackery

      Dear Michelle Z:

      My thoughts are with you and your daughter. The very best to you both.

    • Kristina Chew, PhD

      @Michelle Z and Lynne,

      thinking and thinking of you and your children. please let us know how they are doing.

    • http://mayfly mayfly

      At work my next door neighbors are the parents of a daughter who had childhood leukemia. The chid has been cancer free for 17 years.

      The cancer was discovered because their daughter would not stop crying due to the pain from her condition.

      She now has a learning disorder stemming from the drugs she was given.

    • Jen

      That comparison makes me physically nauseous- I’ve got kids with autism and one child who is a cancer survivor, and at least to my way of thinking, there is no comparison at all to be made. We are extremely fortunate that my daughter is “cured”, and although there’s always the chance of a remission things look good. I don’t see how anyone can try to make a real comparison between autism and cancer.

      Michelle Z- our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

    • Mike

      Michelle Z, before you decide to treat the cancer with the medical establishment, please take a close look at natural cancer cures that do not have “awful side effects” and are more effective. The medical establishment’s cures cause other problems, even if they kill the cancer, and that’s not a given.

      There have been dozens of doctors who have developed natural, non-patentable cancer cures and have paid the price with imprisonment, even death. A page on my website talks about these brave doctors:

      The best alt cancer cure is ozone therapy. Cancer can’t survive in an oxygenated surrounding so “flood the body with oxygen”. (Ozone is nothing more or nothing less than 3 oxygen atoms) In Germany, they treat cancer with ozone, without side effects, and with a higher success rate than our medical establishment. Yet our medical establishment will not even consider ozone therapy because it’s controlled by the drug companies who want nothing to do with anything that can’t be patented. Sick to put profits before cures, but that’s our medical establishment.

      The other thing you can try is to boost her immune system and raise her pH level above 7.5. There are some studies out of japan on the anti-cancer attributes of certain mushrooms and in the us on something in broccoli that cures cancer. I sell a broccoli fortified flax hull powder and an 8 mushroom powder that can be added to cereal or oatmeal undetected and will boost the immune system. I sell these products at cost to parents who have kids with cancer (around 30% off retail) Contact me if you want to try them, they are worth the try. BTW, the liquid zeolite seems to help people with cancer as well. I think it’s because it raises the pH level and detoxes heavy metals, but there’s only anecdotal evidence it works and not my first even fifth choice to deal with cancer. Please do your own research, and oh yes, whatever you do, don’t allow your child to take any drug that contains fluoride. Sorry to report over 50% of drugs contain this toxic substance (Is big pharma trying to cure us or make us sicker?):

    • grenouille


      Didn’t someone else just remind you about how you shouldn’t be giving medical advice on this or any site?

      Pretty disgusting that you would see Michelle Z’s daughter as a way to pad your bottom line.

    • Mike

      My non-medical advise is to research alt health especially ozone therapy. Anyone can suggest natural health cures, as long as the 1st amendment is still standing. I don’t run a clinic trying to cure disease. I know the law in this regards quite well as a friend (Ed McCabe, Me Oxygen) spent 2 years in jail for touting the effects of ozone therapy as a cure for cancer. What a country, eh? As for “padding my bottom line”, not with cancer patients. I make no money from them, as I stated. This can be easily verified as I am a re-seller for most of the product I sell (except the ozone machines) and anyone can call the manufacture and ask if so and so is the dealer cost for so and so product. End of story, I don’t make money from cancer patients.

    • Michelle Z

      Mike -
      While I’m sure you have good intentions, I would appreciate NOT being solicited about my daughter’s health care. In this life-threatening situation, we will stay with tried-and-true medical interventions.

      It’s ironic you mention Germany; the study used to treat her cancer was actually done in Germany, by German doctors – and yes, it does include chemotherapy drugs. So, be careful when you say alt therapies come from Germany; it’s not as if the entire country is backing these therapies.

      Seriously? I laughed out loud when I read that “I sell …” part of your comment. Next time, please keep your agenda to yourself. My child’s health is not when I’ll begin gambling.

      I did not comment on this site asking for help, I was only adding my opinion & experience to the mix.

      Thanks to everyone else for their well wishes & kind words. Our daughter is doing really well right now with her treatments.

    • Kristina Chew, PhD


      I really appreciate your contributions here and thank you for reading and commenting. But, yes, solicitations for products are not really appropriate.

      I think of this blog as like my classrooms, where all view points are encouraged and where, hopefully!, we can get a real conversation and dialogue going. Thank you.

    • Storkdok

      Michelle and Jen and Lynne,

      My thoughts and prayers are with you as your children fight their cancer and for the follow up and/or surveillance.


    • Mike

      Duly noted, sorry for the suggestions.

    • Synesthesia

      I find comparing cancer to autism so disturbing and obnoxious as I HAD cancer when I was a baby and a toddler.
      it was a horrible experience, even though I remember very little of it.
      There’s just no comparison.

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    • Misty Smith, LVN

      I know this is an old post but feel compelled to respond. My daughter was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma at 6 months old (rare form of infant cancer) & autism at 2.5 years old. I am slightly offended at SOME of the opinions you’ve stated but I try to keep in mind everyone is entitled to their own opinions. After our NIGHTMARE fighting her cancer (Stage 4) for over a year and still living the daily trauma of REMISSION, (NOT CANCER FREE but in a waiting period for it to come back or something worse!!!), being told she was Autistic was NOTHING!!!! They asked if we needed a counselor & my husband & I BOTH laughed out loud, but thanked her profusely for the offer. After explaining WHY from an Oncology standpoint & life or DEATH REALITY CHECK… she said, “Well, I suppose not… I wish you all the VERY best!” And was oddly quiet. To me… there is NO COMPARISON HANDS DOWN… autism is NOT a life sentence to ANYTHING (my daughter is WELL on her way in the right direction in SPITE of the toxins flushed down her with Chemo!! Cancer…. is the word that we will face FEARFULLY for the rest of her LIFE! Just my take on it. And get educated about success stories in Autism Spectrum Disorders, please!


      The Mommy of an Autistic Cancer Survivor… Kickin Cancer’s butt since 2008 & autism since 2010!