Cancer is a serious non-communicable disease affecting more than 14 million individuals and families across the world and more than 50% will die. Although children and adolescents represent only about 1% of people with cancer, survival rates in high-income countries reach close to 80%. Adults who have survived childhood cancer represent a significant workforce and contributors to their communities and societies and there are many survivors! It is estimated that 1 in every 640 young adults under 40 in the US is a childhood cancer survivor. However, there are great disparities in outcomes for pediatric cancer patients around the world since approximately 80% of children and adolescents with cancer live in countries with limited resources and few health care professionals.
Established in 1969, the International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP), with over 1500 members, is the lead organization concerned with the issues of children and young people who have cancer. The society envisions that “no child should die of cancer.”
The International Society of Paediatric Oncology includes physicians, surgeons, nurses, psychologists and radiation therapists. It is the only international organization devoted to improving and optimizing childhood cancer treatments throughout the world. To that end, the SIOP Pediatric Oncology in Developing Countries (PODC) Committee with 191 members and growing was established to support colleagues in countries with nascent pediatric oncology programs in low- and middle-income countries. PODC experts from around the world work together to adapt treatment protocols to address local realities, while maintaining high scientific standards of data collection and monitoring.
Since 2002 (15th February), when International Childhood Cancer Day (ICCD) was first launched by International Confederation of Childhood Cancer Parent Organizations (ICCCPO; now CCI), ICCD has spotlighted the need for more equitable and better access to treatment and care for all children with cancer, everywhere ICCD is now celebrated in more than 100 countries around the world in collaboration with SIOP and its members and supported by other international global networks (e.g. International Academy of Pediatricians, International Children’s Palliative Care Network, Union for International Cancer Control). ICCD raises awareness about childhood cancer, and demonstrates support for children and adolescents with cancer, the survivors and their families. The day promotes increased appreciation and deeper understanding of issues and challenges faced by children/adolescents with cancer, the survivors, their families and the society as a whole.