Globally, childhood and adolescent cancer is threatening to overtake infectious diseases, as one of the highest causes of disease-related mortality in children.
According to IARC (2015), the reported worldwide incidence of childhood cancer is increasing, from 165,000 new cases annually to 215,000 cases for children 14 years and younger and 85,000 new cases for 15 -19 year-olds. Many more remain uncounted and unreported due to a lack of childhood cancer registries in a large number of countries.
While the number of children with cancer is much less compared to global incidence of adult cancers, the number of lives saved is significantly higher; survival rates in high-income countries reach an average of 84% and are steadily improving even in less-resourced areas of the world where there is local and international support.
The ICCD campaign’s ultimate goal and unified message is “Better access to Care for Children & Adolescents with Cancer Everywhere”. This message spotlights the inequities and glaring disparity of access to care in most low- and middle-income countries where 80% of children with cancer live. Children and adolescents in Africa, Asia and Latin America and in parts of Eastern and Southern Europe do not yet have access to appropriate treatment including essential medicines and specialized care. Currently, where one lives often determines one’s ability to survive childhood cancer.
The 1800 healthcare professionals from 110 countries who are members of the International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP) and the 187 member organizations of Childhood Cancer International (CCI), the largest non-profit patient support organization for childhood cancer ask everyone to come together in solidarity to make sure children and adolescents everywhere have the chance to survive cancer and live long, productive and meaningful lives.
“The chance for a cure, the chance to live, should not be an accident of geography. There is nothing scarier than realizing that your child has cancer. However, there is nothing more tragic than knowing that treatment and cure does exist for your particular child’s cancer and with excellent outcomes, BUT… that it is not available for your child. Why? Because your child happens to live in the wrong hemisphere! It is time to take action to stop this cruel atrocity… make your voices heard on International Childhood Cancer Day and demand from world leaders to ACT and HELP SAVE ALL CHILDREN regardless of where they live!” (HRH Princess Dina Mired, mother of childhood cancer survivor, global primemover for equitable cancer control).
On International Childhood Cancer Day, we ask that stakeholders in healthcare, parents, families, and communities advocate for government collaboration with national civil society organizations, non-profit groups and local communities to ensure that children and adolescents with cancer have appropriate care and support throughout the childhood cancer journey (from diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care).
This call to action supports the Sustainable Development Goal 3, Indicator number 4. by 2030, reduce by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention, early diagnosis and treatment and by promoting mental health and well-being. Indeed, “If these Goals are completed, it would mean an end to extreme poverty and inequality by 2030”.
With your help, we can create lasting, positive change in the lives of the children/adolescents with cancer who are the future of all our nations and global society as a whole.