Half of childhood cancer cases go undiagnosed, says a Lancet study

People participate in a walkathon to spread awareness about Cancer in Mumbai on Dec 23, 2018IANS

  • According to a Lancet report, every one out of two children with cancer dies undiagnosed and untreated.
  • Nearly 92% of the cases have been from low-income or middle-income countries.
  • Around 60% of the countries across the globe don’t have cancer registries important for policy makers and planning decisions to decrease cancer incidences.
Amid a global crisis of cancer, a recent study has shown that nearly 60% of countries don’t even have cancer registries to record prevailing childhood cancer conditions — resulting in untreated cancer cases and deaths.

According to the report in Lancet Oncology journal, childhood cancer goes substantially undiagnosed and untreated. Nearly 45% of children having cancer worldwide never get diagnosed and end up dying due to no medical treatment. This means every one in two children fall prey to cancer-caused deaths.

In fact, in the United States, despite having advanced system in place for cancer detection, about 1,800 child deaths were recorded due to cancer this year.

After heart diseases, cancer is the second biggest killer in India. As per World Health Organisation (WHO), the cancer cases in the nation will be five times more by 2025.

As an initiative to step up efforts to curb the growing problem of cancer in the country, India's National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has capped the prices of 42 medicines that are used to treat different types of cancers specifying that the retail price of these drugs cannot be over 30% of the cost of procurement.

Taking into account population projections, it is estimated that there will be 6.7 million cases of childhood cancer worldwide from 2015 to 2030, the report highlighted. Considering the current levels of healthcare systems, 2.9 million cases of childhood cancer will be missed between 2015 and 2030.

While a lot of people globally face challenges in medical help and healthcare, the disease’s global footprint has revealed that nearly 92% of the new cases registered for child cancer happen to be in low-income and middle-income countries.

To cut down on the number of needless deaths universally, the United Nations must prioritise cancer in children to its Sustainable Development Goals, Professor Rifat Atun reportedly said.

According to the conclusions drawn from the report, on an average, about 400,000 cases are registered globally every year for child cancer. The registered cases have been about 200,000 this year.

Globally, there were 397,000 childhood cases recorded in 2015, out of which only 224,000 were diagnosed — which means 43% cases went untreated. This includes most of the cases of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, adding 75,000 new cases during the same period.

The Lancet study analysed cancer incidences for 200 countries, considering factors such as population growth and urbanicity, geographical variation and heath system performances among others.

See also:

India has capped the retail prices of 42 cancer drugs

Working night shifts can do irreversible damage to your DNA, says study