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  • Writer's pictureMalvika Malhotra

International Childhood Cancer Day

Every year 15th February is celebrated as International Childhood Cancer Day (ICCD). It is a global campaign and a community participation, that aims at spreading awareness about childhood cancer and provide support to all the children and adolescents with cancer, the survivors and their families.


It is a continuation of the three year campaign (2021-2023), with 2022 being the second year under the theme "Better Survival" is achievable #throughyourhands. "Right care at the right time by the right team".


  • Cancer is one of the leading cause of death in children and adolescents worldwide. There are nearly 4,00,000 children between 0-19 years of age that are diagnosed with cancer of which most of them belong to the low and middle income countries.

  • Among the high income countries, almost 80% of the children with cancer survive but among low and middle income countries only close to 20% of the children end up surviving.

  • The most common cancers diagnosed among the children are, brain tumors, leukemia, lymphoma, neuroblastoma and Wilms tumor.

  • The cause of childhood cancer is usually unknown, and cannot be prevented or screened at early stages (depending upon the signs and symptoms).


The main Goal of WHO is to achieve at least 60% survival rate of childhood cancer and reduce the suffering for all, by 2030. The objectives to achieve the goal are -

  • prioritize childhood cancer at all levels - global, regional and nation levels.

  • increase the countries capacity of providing quality service for the children with cancer.

A technical approach has also been planned which is called, CUREALL Children with Cancer. This approach includes support, tools and standards.

C - Centers of Excellence and Care Networks with sufficient trained and competent workforce.

U - Universal Health Coverage with quality services, benefits and packages.

R - Regiments for Management with appropriate technologies, medicines, diagnosis and treatment

E - Evaluation and Monitoring an effective research and implementation of constantly improving service.


Leveraged Financing

Linked Policies/ governance


  • Diagnosis - It is best to inform the child/ adolescent of the diagnosis and the treatment that they might be undergoing as it will help them feel empowered and in charge of their own health. The information to be shared can be age appropriate.

  • Stigma - No one better than these childhood cancer survivors who can bring hope, motivation and be inspiration to other new patients and families. They are the true hero of their life.

  • Contagious - A lot of cancer survivor are discriminated and treated differently by the society with the fear that cancer is contagious. But the fact is that it is not contagious and the children are safe to play and socialize.

  • Fertility - Not all survivors may have fertility or reproductive issues. It would entirely depend on the type of cancer and the treatment, But it is not true for most survivors.

  • Lifespan - Everyone may feel that anyone with cancer might never survive long, but the truth is that there might be long term side effects that may persist but the time of diagnosis, quality and intensity of treatment matters a lot.

  • Socialization - A lot of the children are taken off from their schools and not allowed to interact too much with other children due to health reasons, but several studies have shown that survivors tend to cope better when around family, relatives and peer.

  • Future - If you think that the life of a cancer survivor can never get back to normal, so let me tell you, that's so not true. A lot of the survivors return back to normal life performing normal day to day activities and reintegrate with their families. There might be very few families who might be adapting to new changes and making it their new normal, depending on the type of cancer they survived from.

Increased awareness and spread of information and knowledge can help us identify the early signs of childhood cancer, making informed choices of the health of our child's health and overcome the misconceptions and myths of childhood cancer.

The increase in survival rate is only possible if all the aspects, beginning from Diagnosis to Treatment, Medication, Diet, Post Cure Care, Physical Health, Counselling, etc are all looked into at the same time. So, let's take the small step by just sharing and spreading of what we know about childhood cancer and also getting ourselves aware of the other important things that we should be knowing.

Let's bring the difference and make the change for achieving more than 60% survival of childhood cancer.

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