Home News The incidence of paediatric cancer remains stable and survival improves in the Valencian Community

The incidence of paediatric cancer remains stable and survival improves in the Valencian Community

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Every year there are registered, on average, around a hundred cases of cancer in children under 19 years of age in the Valencian Community, in accordance with the Spanish registry of childhood tumours Reti-Sehop, which monitors the Haematology and Haematology units from Valencia. The incidence rate is maintained and survival, in general terms, improves thanks to advances in diagnosis and treatments. To make the cause visible, every December 21 the National Day of Children with Cancer is commemorated.

 

Specifically, the Reti-Sehop database has registered, between 1980 and 2020, a total of 3,095 cases of cancer in childhood and adolescence. The annual average, then, is around one hundred cases.

 

The incidence of cancer in childhood and adolescence (a name that includes numerous types of tumours that develop in children and adolescents from 0 to 19 years of age) has remained stable since 2000 and the medical staff of the Conselleria de Sanidad Universal y Salud Pública which analyses, among other variables, the frequency of this disease, does not observe an increase in diagnoses in children under 15 years of age since that year.

 

Experts relate this data to scientific advances that have occurred in diagnostic methods, with early detection and early initiation of treatments. This poses a promising challenge for research. In this sense, the main objective is now to try to reduce the physical and psychological side effects associated with them.

 

First cause of death between the ages of 5 and 14

 

Cancer in childhood and adolescence, in view of the data from the RETI-SEHOP registry, is a rare disease, but it has a significant impact on mortality. In fact, it is the leading cause of death between the ages of 5 and 14; and the second from 15 to 19 years (behind accidents).

 

On the other hand, the observed survival for all tumours is 91% at one year and 81% at five years, and there are no differences by age group or gender, but by type of cancer.

 

In this sense, the tumour groups with the best prognosis are thyroid, germ cell and gonadal carcinomas, Hodgkin’s lymphoma and retinoblastoma.

 

However, in children, the most common cancer is leukaemia, followed by tumours in the central nervous system (tissues of the brain and spinal cord) and lymphomas (immune system).

 

Paediatric Oncology Network and Coordination Committee

 

The Valencian public health system has a Paediatric Oncology Assistance Network made up of the three hospitals with referral units in childhood and adolescent cancer: the General Hospital of Alicante, the Hospital Clínico Universitario de València and the Hospital Universitari i Politècnic La Fe de Valencia.

 

This healthcare network guarantees rapid and coordinated access to diagnosis and appropriate treatment, while ensuring fair medical practice regardless of the patient’s place of residence.

 

In addition, the Valencian Community also has a Coordination Committee for the Management of Assistance Care for Childhood and Adolescent Cancer Cases, the purpose of which is to agree on specific measures to be implemented in order to improve the survival results of childhood cancer. and in adolescence, and an Interdisciplinary Commission for the Assessment of Proton Therapy Requests.

 

Proton therapy is a special and sophisticated form of external radiation therapy that uses heavy particles (protons) instead of X-rays or electrons, which are generated in conventional linear accelerators. It allows a more localized release of radiation, enabling better dose distribution and unnecessary irradiation to surrounding healthy tissue. It is indicated above all in certain childhood tumours and in some brain tumours of adults.

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