International Childhood Cancer Day 2019 theme: Top 5 facts you must know about cancer in children

On the occasion of International Childhood Cancer Day on February 15, let us take a look at some key facts about cancer in children.

International Childhood Cancer Day (ICCD) is celebrated around the world each year on February 15. The main goal of this global health event, which was founded in 2002 by Childhood Cancer International (CCI), is to help create awareness about childhood cancer, reduce mortality, and eliminate all cancer-related pain and suffering of children fighting the disease. It also aims to achieve at least 60% survival for all children diagnosed with cancer around the world by 2030. The theme for this year’s ICCD is ‘No More Pain’ and ‘No More Loss’ for children, survivors and their families.

On International Childhood Cancer Day, the CCI along with its international partners, including the World Health Organisation (WHO), is raising voices and envision the day when there is ‘No More Pain’ and ‘No More Loss’ for all children with cancer around the world. On this occasion, let us take a look at some facts about cancer in children.

Key facts about childhood cancer

  1. As per CCI, each year, more than 300,000 children ages birth to 19 years are diagnosed with cancer around the world. And approximately 8 in 10 of these children live in low and middle-income countries where their survival rate is often near 20%.
  2. Every 3 minutes, a child dies of cancer, although more than 80% of children with cancer can survive, living full and healthy lives with access to quality care.
  3. According to the American Cancer Society, childhood cancer makes up less than 1% of all cancers diagnosed each year.
  4. The most common types of childhood cancer include leukaemia (a third of all cancers in children is leukaemia), tumours of the central nervous system, neuroblastoma, nephroblastoma, medulloblastoma, and retinoblastoma.
  5. Only a few known risk factors for childhood cancer have been identified and these include – problems with development in the womb, medical conditions, exposure to infections, exposure to radiation, previous cancer treatments, etc. Doctors believe that genetics may play a role in the development of childhood cancer.

With prompt and effective treatment, most childhood cancers are highly curable. Compared with adult cancers, in general, cancer cases in children are more successfully treated with a larger proportion of children cured. It is believed that this difference is due to the fact that childhood cancer is more responsive to therapy, and moreover, a child can tolerate more intensive therapy when necessary.