The International Childhood Cancer Day (ICCD) is a global collaborative campaign to raise awareness about cancer and to express support for children and adolescents living with cancer, the survivors, and their families. It is marked annually on the 15th of February. According to statistics on the ICCD website, every year more than 400,000 children and adolescents below the age of 20 are diagnosed with cancer. The rate of survival depends on the region, with 80% survival in most high-income countries but as low as only 20% in Low and Middle-income countries.
Paediatric palliative care (PPC) promotes the best possible quality of life and care for children with life-limiting conditions and their families. Paediatric palliative oncology (PPO) is an emerging field that integrates the principles of palliative care early into the illness trajectory of children with cancer. PPO providers work with interdisciplinary clinicians to provide optimal medical and psychosocial care to children with cancer and their families. Ongoing advances in the field of paediatric oncology, including new treatment options for progressive cancers, necessitate the early integration of palliative care tenets including holistic care, high-quality communication, and assessment and management of refractory symptoms (Snaman et al. 2018).
The target goal of the WHO Global Childhood Cancer Initiative is to eliminate all pain and suffering of children fighting cancer and to achieve at least 60% survival for all children diagnosed with cancer around the world by 2030. This represents an approximate doubling of the current cure rate and will save an additional one million children’s lives over the next decade. The UN rights of the child states “Children have the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and facilities for the treatment of illness and rehabilitation of health”.
According to Childhood Cancer International a child dies from cancer every 3 minutes. International Childhood Cancer Day was first observed in 2002 by CCI, a global network of 170+ organizations, childhood cancer support groups, childhood cancer survivors’ associations, and cancer societies, spread over 93 countries and across five continents. The idea of celebrating this day is based on the core belief of CCI, that every child and adolescent suffering from cancer deserves to receive the best possible medical and psychological care, despite the country they live in, the race they belong to, or their financial and social status.