Amsterdam, Netherlands – Geneva, Switzerland, 15 February 2023 – International Childhood Cancer Day (ICCD), held each year on 15 February, is an important date commemorated across the world. For the third consecutive year, children and families affected by childhood cancer, survivors, and healthcare professionals who serve them have joined forces to launch the ICCD Advocacy Toolkit and ‘Tree of Life’ web platform to spread messages of hope and gratitude to young patients and all those who accompany them on their journey towards Better Survival.
On ICCD 2023, Childhood Cancer International (CCI) and the International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP) have combined forces to take the third and final step in the joint 3-year ICCD campaign cycle. Following young patients with cancer (2021) and the healthcare team (2022), it is now time to spotlight the essential role of families, caregivers and broader communities in making a positive impact on the lives of children and adolescents with cancer.
The ICCD Advocacy Toolkit (https://internationalchildhoodcancerday.org/act-now) is available to inspire and guide participation in the campaign by families, caregivers, patients, survivors, healthcare professionals, and advocates at all levels, with emphasis on regional activities in local languages. There are three main areas of action:
1) organise policy events with Ministries of Health and regional health organizations to involve a wide range of stakeholders, eliminate myths on childhood cancer, and introduce solutions to barriers for care and challenges to achieve survival,
2) post messages of hope and appreciation on the Tree of Life website (https://www.iccd.care/en-us/handprint),
3) create a physical Tree of Life in childhood cancer facilities such as painting one on a wall or making collages, as well as creating an electronic format one on the Tree of Life website.
~ 400,000 children (0-19 years) are diagnosed with cancer each year. Childhood cancers are a leading cause of mortality in many countries. Five-year survival varies from >80% to as low as <20% in some settings, especially low-and-middle-income countries. Childhood cancers are an increasing global disease burden marked by pronounced inequalities.
Childhood cancer treatment is cost-effective even in resource-limited settings. Families and caregivers are an irreplaceable part of the care journey as they guide, support, and advocate for their child, and their full involvement and collaboration with health professionals and policy-makers is crucial to achieve Better Survival.
As the WHO Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer (GICC) recognizes advocacy as a key enabler of progress, CCI and SIOP also emphasise the essential role of families and caregivers on the international health agenda.
João de Bragança, CCI President, highlights the endless love and dedication of parents and caregivers: “Children going through the cancer journey need all the medical attention we can provide them. This is a vital part of the treatment process. But the role of parents and caregivers is unique, because of the love and emotional care that only they can offer. On this day we also celebrate the love for our children with cancer.”
Guillermo Chantada, SIOP President: “Families, friends and local communities play a pivotal role throughout the childhood cancer journey. By celebrating their critical contribution to Better Survival, we are sending the message that all caregivers are essential members of the care team alongside health professionals. This partnership-based approach is reflected in the joint SIOP-CCI campaign for ICCD and beyond as we join forces to speak powerfully with one voice and strive to improve access to care worldwide.”
HRH Princess Dina Mired of Jordan, SIOP Patron and global health activist: “The ICCD campaign aims to amplify the visibility of childhood cancer at all levels and reach the breadth of stakeholders with the power to effect life-saving change. Together, we can sustain and reinforce community participation and collaborations for the benefit of children and adolescents with cancer across the globe.”
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Childhood Cancer International (CCI)
Childhood Cancer International was founded in 1994, as an umbrella organization of childhood cancer grassroots and national parent organizations. Recognized world-wide as the body representing children/adolescents with cancer, childhood cancer survivors and their families, CCI is today the largest patient support organization for childhood cancer. It is a global, parent-driven non-profit that represents 182 parent and childhood cancer survivor organizations in 94 countries, across 5 continents. CCI envisions that “Children and adolescents with cancer, benefit from the best possible treatment, care and support, anywhere in the world.” To learn more visit https://www.childhoodcancerinternational.org/
International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP)
Established in 1969, the International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP), is the only global multidisciplinary society entirely devoted to paediatric and adolescent cancer. The society has over 2000 members worldwide including physicians, nurses, other health-care professionals, scientists and researchers. Our members are dedicated to increasing knowledge about all aspects of childhood cancer. SIOP envisions that “No child should die of cancer: cure for more, care for all” and is aiming to improve the lives of children and adolescents with cancer through global collaboration, education, training, research and advocacy. To learn more, visit siop-online.org
CCI-SIOP ICCD Campaign
The 15th of February marks International Childhood Cancer Day (ICCD) to highlight the importance of community participation and support in the fight against childhood cancer in every country around the world. CCI and SIOP joined forces on a three-year campaign for ICCD (2021-2023) using the universal image of colourfully painted handprints of children to represent survival rates as well as the Tree of Life, symbolizing that childhood cancer is curable. Each year, a distinct group of childhood cancer stakeholders in highlighted: #throughourhands giving tribute to children and adolescents with cancer (2021), #throughyourhands with focus on healthcare teams (2022) and #throughtheirhands paying tribute to the families and caregivers (2023).
Alignment with the WHO Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer
The CCI and SIOP campaign is fully aligned with the #CureAll strategy of the breakthrough WHO Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer (GICC). Launched in 2018, the GICC is an unprecedented multi stakeholder global effort spotlighting childhood cancer as a major priority of the international child health and development agenda.