Next month, September, is Childhood Awareness Month in the US. We’d like to share some common myths about childhood cancer in lower and middle income countries:
1. Myth: Childhood cancer is a “first world” problem
Fact: 80% of new childhood cancer cases each year occur in lower and middle income countries. Lower and middle income countries are disproportionately burdened by cancer. 100,000 children with cancer are dying unnecessarily every year.
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 $775 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.
“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 and non-communicable diseases is blurring. Burkitt’s lymphoma, the most common childhood cancer in central Africa, is linked to a 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.
Thank you for reading! To learn more about World Child Cancer’s twining model and projects, visit our website, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.