Each year, about 200,000 new cases of childhood cancer are registered. But according to a study recently published in The Lancet Oncology, 200,000 more remain ignored annually. Developing countries would be the first to suffer from this phenomenon.
One child in two undiscovered
A new predictive model applied to 200 countries suggests that nearly 200,000 new childhood cancer cases aren’t diagnosed or treated each year ; 43% of all predicted cancer cases. If no improvement takes place, researchers estimate that nearly 3 million cases will go under radar between 2015 and 2030.
"Our model suggests that almost one in two children with cancer will never be diagnosed and could die without treatment," says Zachary Ward, co-author. "Accurate estimates of cancer incidence in children are critical for those in charge to set priorities in terms of public health and to plan effective diagnosis and treatment for all children with cancer."
The most affected countries
These data are also indicative of a severe imbalance between developed and developing countries. Africa, the Pacific Islands and South Central Asia not only have more cancer cases, but also have fewer resources to diagnose them.
The predictive model suggests that 92% of new cancer cases would be in low- and middle-income households, a higher percentage than previous estimates. "Universal health insurance, one of the targets of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, must include childhood cancer as one of its priorities to avoid unnecessary deaths," said researcher Rifat Atun.