World Childhood Cancer Day or International Childhood Cancer Day (ICCD) is commemorated on February 15 every year, to raise awareness about the different types of childhood cancers, advance medical treatment to provide better outcomes for patients, as well as offer support to kids and their families enduring this grave illness. This global health campaign was initiated in the year 2002, by Childhood Cancer International (CCI), a collective organisation of around 180 member associations from more than 90 countries around the world. The chief objective of this worldwide health crusade is to emphasize the importance of early diagnosis for better treatment outcomes and saving lives, understanding the burden of childhood cancers for the entire family and delivering the best medical care for affected children in every corner of the world, tackling all geographical, social and financial inequities.

Also Read: World Cancer Day 2022: Learn About the Significance, Facts And Importance
World Childhood Cancer Day, Feb 15, 2022

The year 2022 marks the second of the three-year campaign for ICCD, with the theme for the period 2021-2023 being, “Better Survival Is Achievable #throughyourhands”. This premise underscores the need for optimal medical care for every child in the world, as young children and adolescents deserve the best treatment to successfully fight childhood cancers and to persevere and lead a healthy life well into adulthood. As this can be rather challenging, the constant and wholehearted support and caring from the community and society is very much necessary for the children as well as their families. World Childhood Cancer Day hence involves conducting activities to spread verified information about these dangerous diseases, like trending social media posts, hashtags, selling T-shirts with the ICCD goal and theme, organising fund-raising marathons and hosting global health conferences.

Types Of Childhood Cancers:

There are several types of childhood cancers, but the ones occurring most often are:

  • Leukemia – cancer of the blood and bone marrow
  • Lymphoma – cancer of the lymph nodes and cells – lymphocytes in the immune system
  • Neuroblastoma – cancer of the nerve cells in the developing foetus
  • Brain And Spinal Cord Tumours – cancer of the cells, tissues in the cerebellum, brain stem and spine
  • Nephroblastoma/Wilms Tumour – cancer of the kidneys
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma – cancer of the skeletal muscles
  • Retinoblastoma – cancer of the eye
  • Bone Cancer – cancer of the bone cells

Also Read: Blood Cancer/Leukemia: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Key Facts About Childhood Cancers:

  • Every 3 minutes, a child dies of cancer.
  • Every year, more than 400,000 children and adolescents below the age of 20 are diagnosed with cancer.
  • The survival rate of these childhood cancer cases is as high as 80% in high income countries, but is very low – only 20% in low- and middle-income countries.

Significance Of International Childhood Cancer Day:

  • The World Health Organisation (WHO), under its Global Childhood Cancer Initiative, has set the target goal of eliminating the suffering and pain of children diagnosed with childhood cancers and achieving at least a 60% survival rate all over the world by the year 2030. This will effectively save the lives of over 1 million children in this current decade between 2021 – 2030.
  • The United Nations (UN) Rights of the Child states that, “Children have the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and facilities for the treatment of illness and rehabilitation of health.” It is hence the need of the hour to enhance medical treatment for the numerous categories of childhood cancers, improve healthcare facilities and find cures for this serious illness hampering the quality of life of children across the globe. As even one death from childhood cancer goes against the fundamental principle of the UN, medical experts, healthcare professionals and government officials worldwide must work together to provide optimal treatment and care to ensure the survival of every child diagnosed with
  • World Childhood Cancer Day provides an opportunity to highlight the inequalities existing in healthcare, especially in low- and middle-income countries around the world. Guaranteeing the availability and ease of access of the most advanced and latest diagnostic tools, medical treatment procedures and basic healthcare facilities helps in providing timely remedial measures to prevent fatalities and ensure the survival of affected children in these nations.