27, Feb 2019
According to a study published in the Lancet Oncology journal, nearly half of all children with cancer worldwide are not diagnosed or treated, the Guardian reported. The study indicates that the children’s location has an effect: an estimated 57% of childhood cancer cases were missed in western Africa; this figure was 49% in South Asia, but only 3% in western Europe. Zachary Ward of Harvard University, the study’s first author, said that many children struggled to obtain healthcare, and that even if doctors examined them, their symptoms could be conflated other diseases like malaria or tuberculosis. The researchers developed a computer model, which indicated that there were an estimated 397,000 cancer cases afflicting children under 14 globally in 2015, but only an estimated 224,000 children were diagnosed with cancer. This implies that 43% of cases were missed. According to the researchers, 92% of all new cases of childhood cancer take place in low-income and middle-income countries. “It is often said that childhood cancer is non-existent in developing countries where it is really because we have poor data in these countries,” Ward said, also noting that universal health coverage, which many countries have pledged to establish, will aid children in accessing healthcare.