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February 15, World Childhood Cancer Day

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February 15, World Childhood Cancer Day

The XXIV is celebrated on February 15th World Cancer Day IchildrenInternational Childhood Cancer Day – established byWorld Health Organization to raise public awareness on the topic of childhood cancer and to express support for children and adolescents with cancer and their families. The day is promoted by Childhood Cancer International (CCI), the largest network of associations in the world to support patients and their families, active in more than ninety countries on five continents.

In Italy one of the promoters is the FIAGOPItalian Federation of pediatric oncohaematology parents and recovered associations, which represents on a national level the Italian community of associations of parents of sick and recovered children and young people with oncohaematology, which this year too has planned some awareness-raising activities at a national level.

Childhood cancer around the world

Cancer in children and adolescents continues to be the leading cause of death related to a non-communicable disease. Every year more than 400,000 children and adolescents under 20 years old cancer is diagnosed. The survival rate is estimated by the CCI to be 80% in most high-income countries but up to 20% in low- and middle-income countries.

Some data on childhood cancer in Italy

According to data provided by Aiom report “Cancer numbers in Italy 2023”in our country, every year, in the age range between 0 and 14 yearsare diagnosed approximately 1,400 new cases of cancer (with an incidence of approximately 150 new cases/1,000,000 subjects). Others 600-800 new cases they appear among the 14 and 20 years old of age. Over the years, there has been a increased survival rates for children affected by these diseases, going from around 30% in the 1960s to80% in the last decade. Advances in diagnostic approach methodologies have led to a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying the development of pediatric tumors, laying the foundations for the adoption of personalized treatments.

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The National Oncology Plan 2023-2027 (PON)

The new National Oncology Plan – planning and direction document for the prevention and fight against cancer 2023-2027 (PON), adopted on 26 January 2023 with an agreement in the State-Regions Conference, is in line with the WHO Global Childhood Cancer Initiative which aims to eliminate the pain and suffering of children battling cancer, reach at least the 60% survival for all children diagnosed with cancer worldwide by 2030 and improve treatment plans and assistance for children and adolescents. Alongside health promotion and prevention activities, the PON aims to strengthen assistance for those affected by rare forms of cancer, for children and for fragile patients. the Plan underlines that taking care of the pediatric cancer patient, the main actor in the entire treatment process, also presupposes taking care of the family and their related needs, requiring multi-specialist support made up of dedicated professionals.

Particular attention is also paid to patients aged between 14 and 21 years old for which the least improvements in terms of survival have been observed in recent years, regardless of the type of tumor. They are patients with complex and peculiar needs in which the disease appears at an incredibly delicate moment in the growth process. Treating adolescents means recognizing this complexity and recognizing the need to take global care of the patient – and his family.

The treatments necessary to defeat cancer continue to be associated with a risk of late complications, both clinical and psycho-social, which can arise even many years after the completion of the therapies. It is therefore extremely important that the clinical monitoring of these patients continues into adulthood.

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Initiatives in Italy for Childhood Cancer Day

February 15, Queen’s Hall of the Chamber of Deputies: conference “National Rare Cancer Network: critical issues and prospects for pediatric oncohematology”

The vice-president of the Chamber, Giorgio Mulèthe Minister of Health, Orazio Schillacithe deputy minister of Labor and Social Policies, Maria Teresa Belluccithe Minister for Disabilities, Alessandra Locatellibeyond doctors and experts. The conference will also be broadcast in live streaming. (For further information read the Fiagop note)

Dal 12 to 18 February Two initiatives will be held in many Italian cities, ‘Let’s give roots to hope, let’s plant pomegranates’ and ‘I love you a lot’, which will see the thirty-five associations federated with FIAGOP and also other entities that share its objectives in action.

“Let’s give roots to hope, let’s plant pomegranates”, involves the planting of hundreds of small plants of this fruit shrub as a symbol of life and solidarity. Small ceremonies will be organized in public parks, hospital gardens and schools for the planting of hundreds of saplings, in the presence of patients and their families, doctors and healthcare personnel, as well as representatives of local administrations. Individual people throughout Italy can also participate, for example by taking a selfie next to a pomegranate, drawing the fruit, or preparing a recipe and then sharing their message on social media with the hashtags #DiamoRadiciAllaSperanza, #FIAGOP, #ICCD2024.

“I love you so much” has the aim of promoting the donation of blood and platelets and which will be organized at the transfusion centers of hospitals in various Italian cities thanks to the service of hundreds of volunteers. The leukemic child, like the one being treated for a tumor, is in fact at risk of infections due to the reduction of white blood cells, but above all of hemorrhages due to the lowering of platelets and severe anemia. Blood transfusions are then necessary, which must therefore always be available.

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Further information is available on www.fiagop.it and www.giornatamondialecancroinfantile.it.

For further information, read the Fiagop press note with the program of the Day’s initiatives.

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