Pediatric Cancer Underfunded

Report from Europe claims research for childhood cancer cannot sustain improvements with current funding

(RxWiki News) A report supported by the European Union-funded project Eurocancercoms says funding for children's cancer research is too low to sustain improvements.

There are a number of challenges and complications facing children's cancer research, according to the report. Eastern European countries, where oncological burdens are more prevalent, often do not collaborate in research with Western countries that have a better-developed research structure. This lack of corroboration diminishes the quality of care medical professionals administer to young cancer patients.

There are only six pediatric oncology units in Sweden, according to the report. While these units work closely together, they face problems with funding and a lack of experienced staff.

Meanwhile in the UK, recent service cuts in children's cancer care has shifted pediatric infrastructure to an adult cancer-care model. That means research for children's cancer now has to compete with adult-cancer research to a greater extent.

Approximately 10,400 children under age 15 were diagnosed with cancer in the United States in 2007, according to the National Cancer Institute. About 1,545 children die from the disease annually.

Professor Richard Sullivan, from the Centre for Global OncoPolicy, London, UK, and one of the authors of the report, said about 80 percent of all children with cancer survive now, thanks to improvements in diagnoses and treatments made during the past 40 years.

Review Date: 
February 9, 2011