According to a new global study, almost half of cancer patients in the world are left without a diagnosis and treatment..
The situation is highly dependent on the geographic region..
If in Western Europe and North America, doctors miss 3% of cases of cancer in children, then in South Asia they are 49%, and in West Africa 57%.
These are the latest data collected by scientists for 2015..
According to Zackery Ward of Harvard University, many of these children die at home without medical attention. Cancer survival in these countries is catastrophic, and without timely diagnosis of the disease, it is almost 0%.
Not only do children face the problem of access to medical care. Even if they get to see a doctor, their symptoms can be confused with other diseases, such as tuberculosis and malaria..
In the magazine Lancet Oncology, Dr. Ward and his colleagues from the USA talked about a new computer model that takes into account the incidence rate in the country and other factors, determining the likelihood of getting the right diagnosis and treatment in pediatric oncology.
Thanks to this model, researchers were able to estimate the number of diagnosed and not diagnosed cases of cancer in children in 200 countries and territories of the world. Then, data from cancer registries of 77 countries were taken for comparison, thanks to which scientists corrected the model and made sure of its relevance. Ward believes that the figures are consistent with other estimates taken in developed countries..
The model assumes that in 2015 there were 397,000 oncological diseases in children and adolescents under 14 years of age on the planet. The number of diagnosed cases was only 224,000, that is, 43% of sick children were missed and did not receive help..
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) was the most common.
Researchers say that about 92% of all new cases of cancer in children occur in low- and middle-income countries, especially in West Africa. This is largely a result of the prevalence of specific tumors, such as Burkitt's lymphoma, with a genetic predisposition of the local population. In addition to genetics, exposure to EBV and malaria also play a role..
Based on the figures, Harvard researchers made a forecast from 2015 to 2030. According to their data, during this period 6.7 million new cases of cancer in children will occur in the world, and 2.9 million patients will not receive a diagnosis and adequate treatment..
But there is hope.
Today there is a tendency to expand the coverage of the public health system throughout the world, and it does not bypass even the most underdeveloped countries of West Africa. Given political will and sufficient investment, at least a small percentage of these children will receive lifesaving assistance.
It is important to note that these results dispel some prejudices. For example, that there is practically no pediatric oncology in developing countries due to better ecology and so on..
In fact, the disease is simply overlooked.