(HealthDay News) — The burden of childhood cancer can be effectively diminished to realize health and economic benefits, according to research published in the April 1 issue of The Lancet Oncology.
Rifat Atun, M.D., from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues estimated cases of childhood cancer globally and deaths at current levels of health system performance between 2020 and 2050.
The researchers estimated that between 2020 and 2050, there will be 13.7 million new cases of childhood cancer globally. If no additional investments are made to improve access to health care services or childhood cancer treatment, 11.1 million children will die, including 84.1 percent in low- and lower-middle-income countries. With new funding to scale up cost-effective interventions, this burden could be vastly reduced. In this period, simultaneous comprehensive scale-up of interventions could avert 6.2 million deaths in children with cancer, representing 56.1 percent of the total number of deaths projected. This reduction is projected to yield a gain of 318 million life-years taking excess mortality risk into consideration. The global lifetime productivity gains of $2,580 billion in 2020 to 2050 would be four times greater than the cumulative treatment costs of $594 billion, yielding a net benefit of $1,986 billion on the global investment.
“This report provides compelling evidence that improving outcomes for children with cancer is both feasible and a highly cost-effective investment for all countries rich and poor alike,” Atun said in a statement.