Monday December 17, 2018

Childhood Cancer cases rise by 13 percent worldwide during past 20 Years: WHO

The data were collected from 153 cancer registries in 62 countries, departments and territories covering about 10 percent of the world’s children

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FILE - A young cancer patient is seen at a pediatric oncology clinic in Miami, Florida, Dec. 8, 2014. The number of childhood cancer cases rose by 13 percent during past two decades, according to an agency of the World Health Organization. VOA
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The number of newly diagnosed childhood cancer cases worldwide rose by 13 percent during the past two decades, according to an agency of the World Health Organization.

In a study published in the journal The Lancet Oncology, researchers with the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France, reported the incidence of childhood cancer was 140 per million per year from 2001-2010 among children up to age 14.

The incidence was 124 per million cancers annually throughout the 1980’s, according to data from a previous IARC study.

Eva Steliarova-Foucher works in the cancer surveillance section of the IARC, which is part of the WHO.

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She said cancers that strike adults, notably cancers of the breast, colon and prostate, are often caused by genetic mutations that accumulate over time.

In children, she said, the disease is likely due to a genetic predisposition, adding that children tend to get different cancers than adults.

“The first most common cancer in children is leukemia, and this was seen in all the regions. And then it is followed by cancers of the central nervous system in mostly high-income countries, and it was lymphoma in the other world, in low-income countries.”

The data were collected from 153 cancer registries in 62 countries, departments and territories covering about 10 percent of the world’s children.

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The best records of childhood cancers were from Western countries, including the United States, which kept records on almost 100 percent of sick children. Five percent or less of the data came from Africa and Asia, according to the report. In those low resource settings, Steliarova-Foucher says many cancers may go undiagnosed because of a lack of awareness and the unavailability of diagnostic equipment.

But she stresses that collection of data is important because, “You need to know how many cases there will be in the next years so that you have enough amenities to take care of these children. You need to know how much their treatment will cost also. So, these data provide the first indicator of the burden (of cancer) in this population.”

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For the first time, the IARC report also gathered cancer data on adolescents, between the ages of 15 and 19. The incidence there was 185 cancers in one million teens each year, with lymphoma and melanoma at the top of the list.

By knowing the incidence of childhood cancer, Steliarova-Foucher says researchers can begin to identify some of the factors that may contribute to childhood cancer, including environmental pollutants and infections, which might be avoided. (VOA)

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Road Traffic Accidents Cause 1.35 Mn Deaths Each Year: WHO

WHO noted that 48 middle- and high-income countries that have implemented strong road traffic laws and other safety measures have made progress in reducing road deaths.

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Traffic Crashes, Road Traffic
Two bikes were involved in an accident with a bus that crashed and turned on its roof near the town of Franschhoek, South Africa, March 7, 2015. VOA

The World Health Organization (WHO) is calling for urgent action to put a brake on road traffic crashes that kill 1.35 million people every year, mostly in poor developing countries.

In Geneva, the U.N. agency launched its global status report on road safety 2018.

The report found road traffic injuries to be the leading killer of children and young people aged five to 29 years, with a death occurring every 24 seconds. The report said more than half of those killed are pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcycle riders and passengers.

Etienne Krug, head of the U.N. Agency’s Department on Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention, called these deaths a huge inequality issue.

Traffic Signals, Road Traffic
Traffic and congestion on roads is frequent in all cities of India. Wikimedia

“Low-income countries have one percent of the vehicles in the world and 13 percent of all the deaths; while high-income countries have 40 percent of all the vehicles,” Krug said. “So, that is 40 times more, but only seven percent of the deaths.That is half of the deaths with 40 times more vehicles.”

The report said death rates are highest in Africa and lowest in Europe. Some of the key risk factors include speeding, drinking and driving, and failure to use seat belts, motorcycle helmets and child restraints.

Krug said putting the right measures in place will save lives. These include the right legislation and enforcement, creating special lanes for cyclists and improving the quality of vehicles.

Road accidents in India
Road accidents in India. Pixabay

“It is not acceptable that vehicles are being sold in developing countries that look the same as the vehicles that we see here in Switzerland or the U.S. or anywhere else, but that are not,” Krug told VOA. “Because to make them cheaper, they have been stripped of all of their safety features, such as air bags or electronic stability control, etc.”

WHO noted that 48 middle- and high-income countries that have implemented strong road traffic laws and other safety measures have made progress in reducing road deaths.

Also Read: HIV Epidemic Spreading Rapidly in Pakistan: WHO

However, it said no such progress has been made in low-income countries where safety measures are lacking. (VOA)