Each year, cancer affects about 215 thousand children under the age of 15 years. Another 85 thousand cases of cancer are detected in adolescents from 15 to 19 years. This data was published by the International agency for research on cancer, whose experts argue that most types of childhood cancer can be cured.
The authors of the new study note that childhood cancer is quite rare. Besides, more than 80 per cent of children with cancer are cured in industrialized countries. But in poor states and states with medium level of income such a happy outcome is observed only in 20% of cases. The main reason is the lack of the necessary infrastructure for early and accurate diagnosis and effective treatment. In addition, according to experts, in poor countries, doctors do not pay the necessary attention to this problem, believing that cancer is an adult problem.
The most common type of cancer among children under 15 years is leukemia. It accounts for almost a third of all cases of pediatric oncology. In second place - tumors of the central nervous system, and the third – lymphomas. Among children under five, the third of all cancer cases make embryonic tumors. Most types of childhood cancer can be cured and countries of all income levels can succeed in it.
In this regard, a global initiative was launched by the World Health Organization to ensure that 80 per cent of all children with cancer are cured by 2030. This goal is almost twice more than the current survival rate of children with cancer and, if it's achieved, more than a million children could be saved in the next decade.
The new initiative will seek to ensure equal access of children to diagnosis and treatment, especially in countries with limited resources.
Cancer, as noted in the WHO, occurs at any age and can affect any part of the body. It starts with genetic changes in one cell, which then begins to multiply uncontrollably. This leads to the occurance of tumors. Untreated, the tumor usually grows, invades other tissues of the body, and often leads to death.