It is estimated that every 3 minutes a new child is diagnosed with childhood cancer worldwide. WHO data suggests that approximately 400,000 child cancer cases are diagnosed each year. This excludes thousands of children who loose their lives prior to a diagnosis. In high-income countries/developed nations these children have an 80% cure rate whereas in low-income countries/developing nations like ours the cure falls down to 20%.
The drastic difference for this varied child cancer cure rates are
- It’s a social stigma that ‘CANCER IS A DEATH SENTENCE’
- Delay in diagnosis or misdiagnosis due to various obstacles in accessing healthcare.
- Ultimately poorer the diagnosis, much earlier relapses and deaths due to toxicity.
- The highest burden is due to abandonment/rejection of treatment.
So to help these children we must aim at EARLY DIAGNOSIS. The steps for the same are
- Mass awareness regarding childhood cancer. Through media, campaigns etc
- Uniform access to healthcare in urban, suburban and rural population.
- Clinical evaluation, Diagnosis and Staging must be done strictly in order to give standard quality cancer treatment for any childhood cancer.
- Access to high-quality cancer treatment once child cancer diagnosed.
For childhood cancer screening is generally not useful. Only a very few of them have a significant genetic inheritance. Access to a good oncologist & child hospitals for treatments includes Chemotherapy, Surgery or Radiation depending on specific conditions.
So finally we must understand that Childhood cancer is curable and hence we must strive hard to diagnose early with a high index of suspicion. Faith is bigger than fear!!…..