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Table of Contents   
LETTER TO THE EDITOR  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 488-489
Childhood cancers in low-resource settings: Reinforcing the need for intensification of efforts


Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

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Date of Web Publication22-Jun-2017
 

How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Childhood cancers in low-resource settings: Reinforcing the need for intensification of efforts. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2017;10:488-9

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Childhood cancers in low-resource settings: Reinforcing the need for intensification of efforts. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2017 [cited 2019 Nov 21];10:488-9. Available from: http://www.atmph.org/text.asp?2017/10/2/488/196851
Dear Editor,

Childhood cancer refers to any cancer detected in a child in the age-group of 0-14 years, and has been rated as the second most common cause of death in the same age-category worldwide.[1] In-fact, the current global estimates suggest that every year, in excess of 0.15 million children are diagnosed with cancer, which eventually affect the quality of life of not only the child, but even the families and communities.[1],[2]

Although, the current trends reflect that the incidence is much more common among developed nations, the possibility of underestimating the number of cases in low income nations owing to the limitations in the diagnostic set-up and shortcomings in the existing registry system cannot be ruled out.[1],[2],[3] On the contrary in high income nations, owing to the routine practice of subjecting every child to close parental and medical surveillance, a large number of cancer cases have been reported.[1],[2],[3],[4]

Multiple potential risk factors like exposure to ionizing radiation during the antenatal period, genetic predisposition, and viral infections have been identified, which has resulted in a significant impact on the geographical disparity in the distribution of cancers.[1],[2] On a positive note, it has been estimated that more than four-fifths of the childhood cancer patients can survive and lead a healthy life provided they have access to quality-assured care.[1],[2],[3],[4] However, in reality a major proportion of children from developing nations are devoid of that, and hence 9 out of every 10 childhood cancer deaths have been reported from low resource settings.[1],[2]

These unfavorable outcomes are not only because of the poor access to health services and inadequate diagnostic facilities, but even due to the non-specific clinical presentation of the child, which often plays a crucial role in late detection.[2],[3] In addition, factors like ill-equipped hospitals with no appropriate medicines/equipment, presence of other co-existing diseases, poor sensitization of the primary health care providers about the cancers, and catastrophic expenditure associated with the treatment, have also contributed to the poor results in developing nations.[1],[2],[3]

In order to reduce the incidence of childhood cancers and improve the survival rates and quality of life, there is an extensive need for a global response to ensure that every child gets the best possible chance for cancer-free survival.[1-5] This will require a multipronged approach, collaboration from all the stakeholders, and sustained commitment from the policy makers.[1],[2] The package of interventions should essentially consist of measures to raise awareness about childhood cancers among the general population and the health providers, facilitating access towards the existing services, strengthening the surveillance/registry system, expanding the list of essential medicines that can be employed in the treatment of both childhood and adult cancers, and offering the best possible modality of treatment, palliative care and supportive services, including community-based rehabilitation for both children and their families.[1],[2],[3],[4],[5]

To conclude, it is high time that all the stakeholders should strengthen the existing efforts and work in a collaborative manner to reduce the incidence of childhood cancers and the associated adverse consequences, especially in low-resource settings and even on the global scale.

Acknowledgement

SRS contributed in the conception or design of the work, drafting of the work, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

PSS contributed in the literature review, revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

JR contributed in revising the draft, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

Financial support and sponsorship

None.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest to declare.

 
   References Top

1.
International Agency for Research on Cancer WHO Cancer incidence in five continents - Volume X: IARC scientific publication No. 164. 2015;Lyon IARC press 1-7.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Lu L, Huang C, Huang H, Childhood cancer: an emerging public health issue in China. Ann Transl Med 2015;3:250.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Delude C, Childhood cancer survivors: The long road ahead. J Natl Cancer Inst2015;107:djv395.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
World Health Organization. International childhood cancer day: 15 February 2016; 2016.[Last accessed on 2016 April 9]. Available from: http://who.int/cancer/iccd_2016/en/  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Henderson TO, OeffingerKC, Enhancing health care of survivors of childhood cancer with tailored education. J Clin Oncol2015;33:3849-50.  Back to cited text no. 5
    

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Correspondence Address:
Saurabh R Shrivastava
3rd floor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai village, Thiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1755-6783.196851

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