Up to 50% of children with cancer in Syria are cured amid international concern over growing rates of this non-communicable disease and local challenges represented by drug shortages and price hikes, according to a study conducted by BASMA Association for children with cancer.
The study used data for children with cancer between 2009 and 2013 based on the fact that treatment for most of the common cancers require at least 5 years to determine whether a treatment is beneficial, said Rima Salem, Executive Director at BASMA Association.
She added that the “Smile has returned” will be the title of the association’s annual campaign usually launched in February every year marking the International Childhood Cancer Day.
The campaign will include 28 ways to bring focus to pediatric cancer and provide support to children with cancer, in addition to awareness-raising activities in public and private universities.
Regarding medicine availability, Salem noted that there has been a little improvement in this regard, highly appreciated the efforts of those who attempt to bring a smile to the faces of children.
BASMA Association provides free treatment to about 650 children with cancer every year.
Director of the University Children’s Hospital in Damascus, Dr. Mazen al-Haddad said that the hospital receives up to 7000 children with cancer every year, highlighting the challenges related to the big pressure associated with the temporary closure of al-Bairouni Hospital and transferring all cancer patients to the Children’s Hospital, not to mention medicine shortages.
The International Childhood Cancer Day is marked on February 15th with statistics estimating that there are 300,000 new cases of childhood cancer diagnosed every single year around the world. In developed countries, the survival rate for childhood cancer is approaching 80%, compared to 10% in developing and low-income countries.