World first: Australia produces childhood cancer data set

Cancer Australia has produced the world’s first national data on diagnosis and survival rates of childhood cancer. The data set analyses early diagnosis and survival rates for 16 of the most common types of childhood cancers. The data is based on figures collected between 2006 and 2010 by the Australian Childhood Cancer Registry from hospitals across the country. In collaboration with Cancer Council Queensland, Cancer Australia Developed a method to standardise the information, hoping that this may be replicated overseas in the future.

About 100 Australian children die each year from cancer, making it the main cause of death from disease. Approximately 750 new childhood cancer diagnoses are made each year in Australia. This data set fills a major gap in national cancer reporting, and may direct medical research in areas that can improve outcomes for children with cancer.

Understanding how early you can diagnose a cancer and what the outcomes are at a population level are big information gaps for us as a nation. Going forward we will have additional years of data to report so we can better understand whether outcomes for children with cancer are improving.” – Robert Long, Cancer Australia Manager

Survival rates

The most common form of the disease among kids, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, is diagnosed early in 90 per cent of cases and most children are still alive five years later.

However more than half of all children with neuroblastoma – a form of cancer that affects the nervous system – aren’t diagnosed until the disease is quite advanced.

For children diagnosed with later stage medulloblastoma, their chances of still being alive after five years was 44 per cent compared to 80 per cent for those who received an early diagnosis.

Cancer Australia plans to release more data on childhood cancer diagnosis and survival rates for data between 2006 and 2014 in early 2019.

Cancer Advisor has a range of resources on childhood cancer, but we are always looking for more content. Join our community to and tell us what content you’d like to see, share your story, or recommend a resource

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