International Childhood Cancer Day 2020: Cancer is one of the leading causes of death from disease in childhood in India. So, this International Childhood Cancer Day observed on February 15 to raise awareness and express support for children and adolescents with cancer, survivors and their families, it is time to re-examine and combat the situation with more preparedness.
Common cancers in children
One of the most common cancers observed in children is Leukemia – more prevalent in children between the ages of 2-4 years. Brain tumours and other nervous system tumours are the second most common cancer seen in the pediatric age group. Another type of cancer is Neuroblastoma that arises from immature nerve cells in infants and young children. Mainly found in children younger than the age of 5 years, this disease often begins in the adrenal glands.
Survival outlook in India
- The good news is that most pediatric cancers are highly curable, provided prompt and effective treatment is available. In many developed countries, three out of four children survive. Unfortunately, in India, 70% of children die of cancer owing to late diagnosis or none at all along with lack of access to information and life-saving treatment. Sometimes, families do not avail of the appropriate treatment, or they end up abandoning treatment once it has started.
- Another reason is that the cost of treating paediatric cancers is very high. Unlike cancers in adults, cancers in children require a bigger team of medical professionals including an oncologist, radiologist, pathologist, internist etc.
- Yet with timely diagnosis and treatment, most childhood cancers are curable, treatable and liveable. Some of the childhood cancers have more than 90% survival with the best available treatment.
- So, this International Childhood Cancer Day, the healthcare fraternity and general public need to join hands for more awareness to deliver the needed care and support to the children who are suffering.
“NO CHILD SHOULD DIE OF CANCER- CURE FOR MORE AND CARE FOR ALL"
(With inputs from Dr Preetam Jain, Medical Oncologist, Bhatia Hospital, Mumbai)
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