PAHO launches special issue on childhood cancer in Latin America and the Caribbean

PAHO launches special issue on childhood cancer in Latin America and the Caribbean

Despite advances to improve health services for childhood cancer, there still exists a significant gap in access to diagnosis and treatment for children and adolescents, hampering survival. 

Washington D.C.4 October 2023 (PAHO) – The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has published a special issue on childhood cancer in the Pan American Journal of Public Health, to commemorate the first five years since the launch of the WHO Global Initiative of Childhood Cancer (GICC) in 2018. This special issue highlights the joint accomplishments and challenges in childhood cancer in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) and encourages all Member States to strengthen health services for childhood cancer control, improve access to diagnosis, and treatment, and increase survival. 

This compilation of articles delves into the current landscape of childhood cancer in LAC, covering a diverse array of relevant topics such as cancer incidence and mortality trends, advancements in national childhood cancer control plans, the regional, subregional, and national impact of the GICC, and the collaborative efforts of multiple stakeholders. Additionally, the special issue explores aspects like psychosocial care, palliative care, and the progress made by individual countries by implementing the CureAll Americas framework to tackle this challenge.

"In resource-limited settings, childhood cancer remains a formidable challenge," acknowledged Dr. Anselm Hennis, PAHO's Director of Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health. "While we've seen significant advances, with 18 countries actively participating in CureAll Americas and notable progress in several countries, there is still much work ahead." In 2018, the WHO and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital initiated the GICC to achieve a global childhood cancer survival rate of at least 60%. PAHO is actively supporting this effort in the Americas, assisting countries in developing situational analyses, national childhood cancer plans, and country-specific profiles. Over the past five years, an increasing number of countries (from 6 in 2017 to 13 in 2023) have enhanced national childhood cancer plans and legislation to improve diagnosis and treatment access. Collaborative efforts within LAC have led to reduced treatment abandonment rates in Peru and improved early detection referral programs in Andean countries, Panama, and the Dominican Republic. 

Dr. Carlos Rodríguez-Galindo, Director of St. Jude Global, expressed, "Today, as we celebrate five years of progress, we have witnessed an increased awareness of childhood cancer as a pressing public health issue. We hope this special issue will serve as a catalyst, mobilizing countries to address this critical concern." 

A webinar promoting the special issue on childhood cancer in the Pan-American Journal of Public Health will take place on October 26, 2023, with simultaneous interpretation in Spanish, English, Portuguese, and French. The special issue is accessible via this link. 

Launch on October 26th

The launch of the special issue will take place on Thursday, October 26th, on a webinar hosted by PAHO. The session will have simultaneous interpretation in English, Portuguese and Spanish.