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Better Access to Care for Children & Adolescents with Cancer Everywhere

Geneva, Switzerland – February 15, 2017 – Today is International Childhood Cancer Day which highlights the need for concerted global actions to address the growing challenge posed by this non-communicable disease. Globally, cancer is overtaking infectious diseases, as the leading cause of disease-related mortality in children and adolescents.

More than 215,000 children 14 years and younger and 85,000 adolescents are diagnosed with cancer each year around the world, and many more remain uncounted and unreported due to a lack of childhood cancer registries in a large number of countries.

While fewer children than adults develop cancer, the number of years of life saved is significantly higher when children are treated with modern therapy, which cures 84% in high-income countries and often provides the child with many decades of healthy and productive life after cure.  Furthermore, even in less-resourced areas of the world many children can be cured when local and international support are effectively mobilized.

The ICCD campaign’s ultimate goal and unified message is “Better access to Care for Children & Adolescents with Cancer Everywhere”. This message spotlights the inequities and glaring disparity of access to care in most low- and middle-income countries where 80% of children with cancer live. Children and adolescents in Africa, Asia and Latin America and in parts of Eastern and Southern Europe do not yet have access to appropriate treatment including essential medicines and specialized care. Currently, where one lives often determines one’s chance to survive childhood cancer.

The 1800 healthcare professionals from 110 countries who are members of the International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP) and the 187 member organizations of Childhood Cancer International (CCI), the largest non-profit patient support organization for childhood cancer urges everyone to come together in solidarity to make sure children and adolescents everywhere have the chance to survive cancer and live long, productive and meaningful lives.

On International Childhood Cancer Day, we ask that stakeholders in healthcare, including parents, families, and communities advocate for government collaboration with national civil society organizations, non-profit groups and local communities to ensure that children and adolescents with cancer have appropriate care and support throughout the childhood cancer journey (from diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care).

This call to action supports Sustainable Development Goal 3, Indicator number 4, that by 2030 we reduce by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention, early diagnosis and treatment and by promoting mental health and well-being. Indeed, “If these Goals are completed, it would mean an end to extreme poverty and inequality by 2030”.

With your help, we can create lasting, positive change in the lives of the children/adolescents with cancer who are the future of all our nations and global society as a whole.

Children are our future

For ICCD 2017, let’s fill the radio airwaves, media channels and all possible touch points with the message of “We Are One”, the global anthem for childhood cancer!