Childhood cancer has become a heavier burden for China in recent years than a decade ago, according to a new national study published on medical journal The Lancet on Friday.
Researchers used data collected by the National Center for Pediatric Cancer Surveillance to examine the most recent cancer cases in children and adolescents aged between zero and 19 and found that “burden of cancer in children and adolescents in China is much higher than previously nationally reported from 2000 to 2015.”
According to the study, China had 121,145 childhood cancer cases between 2018 and 2020. It’s the first time China has collected such a huge database for the study of childhood cancer.
The researchers, led by professor Ni Xin from the National Center for Children’s Health, also found that only 32 percent of the cases are leukemias, contrary to previous 50 percent believed by many other researchers.
Leukemia is cancer in blood cells and is different from commonly known cancerous tumors. The conclusions in the new study could mean that cancerous tumors in children and adolescents have been underestimated.
They also found that equal access to health services is a key to reducing the burdens.
As a conclusion, the researchers said the Chinese government should consider “increasing the accessibility of health services” to detect childhood cancer cases before their conditions go worse.