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International Childhood Cancer Day observed on February 15

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International Childhood Cancer DayEach Year, the International Childhood Cancer Day (ICCD) is observed on February 15. The day aims to raise awareness about childhood cancer, express support for children & adolescents with cancer, the survivors and their families.

  • The year 2021 marks the 20th Commemoration of the International Childhood Cancer Day (ICCD) since it was created in 2002 by Childhood Cancer International (CCI).
  • In order to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of ICCD, the CCI & International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP) unveiled a joint three-year campaign called ‘Tree of Life’.
  • Cancer – Leading Cause of Death among Children
  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Cancer remains a leading cause of death among children.
  • In 2020 alone, 262, 281 children (aged 0-14 years) were diagnosed with cancer, out of which 45% were from Africa & SouthEast Asia regions.

Children with Cancer: WHO Estimates

According to estimates of WHO,

  • Each Year, around 4, 00, 000 Children & adolescents of 0-19 years old are diagnosed with Cancer.
  • The most common types of childhood cancers are Leukemias, brain cancers, lymphomas and solid tumours such as neuroblastoma & Wilms tumours.
  • Around 69% of SouthEast Asia’s cases are acute lymphoid leukemia which is the most common cancer in children including India.
  • Rate of Survival
  • The rate of survival of children affected with cancer varies according to region wise with 80% survival in most High Income Countries but as low as 20% only in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMIC).
  • The reasons for low survival rates in LMICs are delay in diagnosis & advanced disease, inaccessible therapy, abandonment of treatment, death from toxicity (side effects) & avoidable relapse.
  • Causes of Cancer
  • In LMICs, chronic infections like HIV, Epstein-Barr virus and malaria are risk factors for childhood cancer.
  • Very few cancers in children are caused by Environmental exposure or lifestyle factors.
  • The survival rate can be enhanced by improving access to childhood cancer care, essential medicines & technologies.

WHO Global Childhood Cancer Initiative

  • In 2018, WHO launched the Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer for achieving at least 60% survival for all children with cancer and reduce suffering, globally by 2030.
  • It aims to increase capacity of countries to deliver best practices in childhood cancer care
  • To prioritize childhood cancer at the global, regional and national levels.

Recent Related News:

i.July 9, 2020, According to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) report on “Cancer preparedness in Asia-Pacific: Progress towards universal cancer control”, India has been ranked eighth for cancer preparedness among 10 Asia-Pacific countries.

ii.November 7, 2020, The National Cancer Awareness Day is annually observed across India on 7th November to create awareness about the prevention and early detection of Cancer among the general public.

About   Childhood Cancer International (CCI):
President – João de Bragança
Head Office – Amsterdam, The Netherlands