February 15th is International Childhood Cancer Day!
We’d like to share some common myths about childhood cancer in the developing world:
1. Myth: Childhood cancer is a “first world” problem
Fact: Of the estimated 200,000 children who acquire cancer each year 80% live in low- middle income countries (LMIC) and have as little as 10-30% chance of cure (low and middle income respectively), compared to 80% or more in high income countries. 100,000 children with cancer are dying unnecessarily every year, and many, in pain.
2. Myth: Communicable diseases – AIDS, TB, and Malaria – are the biggest health issues in the developing world.
Fact: Cancer kills more people than TB, HIV/AIDS, and malaria combined in lower and middle income countries. Every year, 8 million people die from cancer and this number is expected rise to 13 million in 2030. While cancer accounts for approximately 55% of all deaths, the disease only receives 2% of the funding.
3. Myth: Cancer is too expensive and difficult to treat in lower and middle income countries (LMICs).
Fact: Just $1,000 provides the drugs, treatment, and care for a child with cancer in sub-Saharan Africa. This is on average, 300 times cheaper than the cost of treatment in the US.
Oscar, a Wilm’s Tumor patient at World Child Cancer’s project in Malawi. His treatment cost approximately $775 and was successful.
4. Myth: Childhood cancer is a death sentence in LMICs.
Fact: With treatment, 50% – 60% of kids with childhood cancer in the developing would can be saved with generic drugs and relatively simple treatment protocols known to doctors for decades. To learn more about how World Child Cancer improves cancer diagnosis, care, and treatment, please visit our website here: http://worldchildcancer.us/what-we-do/
“Cancer is real. Cancer can be treated.” Patients, families, and medical staff at World Child Cancer’s project in Cameroon created t-shirts to raise awareness about childhood cancer.
5. Myth: Cancer is always a noncommunicable disease (NCD).
Fact: The line between communicable (CD) and non-communicable (NCD) diseases is blurring. Burkitt’s lymphoma, one of the most common cancers in Africa, is linked to the Epstein-Barr virus and malaria may also contribute to the disease. In North America1 in 25 cancers are associated with infectious agents, but in LMICs it’s 1 in 4.
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