PUDUCHERRY: In a startling revelation, it has been found that incidence of cancer in children has risen in the last one year with JIPMER diagnosing 160 new cases between November 2014- November 2015.
New child cancer cases account for 10 to 15 per cent of the total cancer cases in JIPMER, whereas childhood cancer account for around five per cent cases in the country, according to Dr Biswajit, Assistant Professor of Oncology, Regional Cancer Centre (RCC), JIPMER. The increase could be on account of better detection and more people approaching hospitals for treatment overcoming the stigma and psychological trauma, he opined.
According to a report from RCC JIPMER, the department registers approximately 1200-1400 new cases annually of which 13-15 per cent are cases of children, below 21 years, afflicted with pediatric cancer. Between November 2014 - November 2015, 160 new pediatric cancer cases were registered of which 65-70 per cent were haematological malignancies (acute leukemias, lymphoma, LCH) and the rest solid tumours (bone and soft tissue sarcomas, neuroblastoma, Wilm’s tumour, retinoblastoma). However, the silver lining is that chances of cure are much higher in childhood malignancies as compared to adults. In India cure rate is around 50-60 per cent.
According to JIPMER’s pediatric cancer registry, the common cancers seen are Acute Leukaemia, Lymphoma, Sarcoma, Wilm’s tumour, neuroblastoma and brain tumours. And JIPMER is the only hospital in Puducherry to provide treatment for Leukaemias and Lymphomas and effect bone marrow transplants,that too free of cost.
Staying for long durations at a faraway place for treatment, overcoming all odds, is another challenge for parents and these aspects are taken into account by various NGOs including ‘Rotary Club’, ‘Cankids’ and ‘JivDaya’. Social Workers play a significant role in doing away with treatment abandonment through regular check-ups and follow-ups over phone. JIPMER also has a good patient support group called ‘Surabhi’.