Experts said here on Friday that out of the total cancer cases in India, childhood cancer comprises almost 3-5 percent and they have expressed concern over the low cure rate due to lack of available data. According to the Indian cancer society, it has been estimated that about 50,000 children and adolescents of age 0 to 19 years will be diagnosed with cancer each year in India.
Haemato-Oncologist Vivek Agarwala said at an awareness programme conducted by Narayana Superspecialty Hospital, Howrah that the cure rate of pediatric cancer is almost 80 percent in the developed countries. When the data is checked from major cancer centres, it actually can match up to the Western standard but the data given is not enough. Types of cancer in children are very different from those that occur in adults. The most common ones are:
- Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia
- Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Wilms’ tumour
- Brain tumours
- Bone tumours
- Ewings sarcoma
Some facts about cancer in children:
- Childhood cancer is curable if it is diagnosed early and treated appropriately.
- It is not infectious and does not spread from one child to the other.
- It is not usually inherited through the genes.
- As the treatment is often long it is very important that extra care is taken at home to ensure treatment, discipline and regularity, good hygiene and balanced nutrition.
- The treatment for cancer is somewhat complicated therefore it is advisable to take treatment in an experienced and specialized pediatric cancer unit.
- A child after completing treatment for cancer is normal like any other child can go to school and play etc.
- Although the actual number of children who develop cancer is small, the cure rate is high and the total number of productive life years saved by curing these children is significantly high and therefore the effort in treating them appropriately is all the more worthwhile and fulfilling.