A worrying trend has been revealed by a new study estimating childhood cancer incidence and diagnosis. According to the study, kids with cancer in developing nations haven’t gotten an adequate diagnosis. More specifically, at least half of the kids in the world who get cancer, the most being from Africa and Asia, don’t receive a correct diagnosis. Accordingly, those with childhood cancer have not received the treatment they needed.
The researchers behind the study, being faced with these shocking numbers, are calling for complete record-taking and improvements in the access to healthcare in developing nations.
A computer model is at the base of the statistic, and it processed data on cancer healthcare, incidence, referral rates, and availability. After that, this model was checked for accuracy against cancer registries in about 77 countries. In the end, the researchers estimated the incidence and diagnosis of childhood cancer worldwide.
About 50 percent of childhood cancer cases in developing nations are misdiagnosed
According to the researchers, especially in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa (including western, eastern, and southern Africa), childhood cancer is substantially underdiagnosed. “In addition to improving treatment for childhood cancer, health systems must be strengthened to diagnose and effectively care for all children with cancer accurately,” the researchers said.
More than 397,000 kids worldwide, aged up to 14, based on the estimates, would have got cancer in 2015 while the diagnosis figures for that year is actually around 224,000. With that being said, this is proof that 43 percent of cases could be going undetected.
In 2015, only 3 percent of childhood cancer cases were missed in the US and Western Europe, but in South Asia, for example, the model calculates that the figure jumps up to 49 percent, while in Western Africa, it reaches 57 percent. According to the team behind the study, either the symptoms of these children are being confused by health professionals with other conditions such as malaria or tuberculosis, or they have just not been checked.