According to a new global study, published in the journal The Lancelot Oncology, almost half of children with cancer are undiagnosed and untreated.
According to an analysis, every year, estimations propose that around 400,000 new cases of childhood cancer arise. But present records account for only over 220,000 of them. Of those, children in low- and middle-income countries are excessively burdened.
Investigators of the study analyzed the registries of childhood cancer in 200 countries. Then, they combined their results with statistics gathered by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Unicef.
They found that more than half of childhood cancer cases go undiagnosed in Africa, South Central Asia, and the Pacific Islands. For assessment, just 3% of childhood cancer occurrences are left undiagnosed in Europe and North America.
This study model also proposes that almost one in two cancer children are never diagnosed and they may die untreated. According to the researchers, accurate approximations of childhood cancer frequency are critical for policymakers. This would help them set healthcare significances and to plan for operative diagnosis and treatment of all cancer children.
While under-diagnosis has been acknowledged as a big problem in low and middle-income countries, this study provides definite estimates which have been lacking.
According to the World Health Organization, cancer is the leading cause of death for children. In high-income countries, around 80% of children with cancer are cured. But that number drops to 20% in low- and middle-income countries.
Though childhood cancer around the world is largely declining, the researchers note that an assessed 92% of new cases perhaps occur in middle-income countries.
The researchers of the study estimate that there will be around 6.7 million new cases of childhood cancer worldwide between 2015 and 2030. From them, 2.9 million will be missed if the working techniques of health systems don’t improve.
Health systems in low-income and middle-income countries are evidently failing to meet the needs of poor children with cancer. Universal health coverage, which is a target of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, must comprise cancer in children as important for the prevention of needless deaths.
The researchers note that the strengthened health systems of the world would bring well-functioning healthcare services to provide “timely diagnosis, recommendation, and treatment” as well as enlarge cancer registration in countries which lack them.
According to the researchers, their study is limited by cancer registry statistics which is available and predictions in Africa could be influenced by the representation of the country. Additionally, the study assumes that all diagnosed cases are correctly recorded, which is not always the case.