What are childhood cancers?
Locally, we have some statistics and data about childhood cancers. Although they are not the latest statistics, it can help us generate a picture of the incidence of childhood cancers. Childhood cancers, are cancers in children until the age of 14 years. On an international level, 110-130 million children are diagnosed with a form of childhood cancer per year. Whilst in Malta, it is said to affect around 10 children under 14 years of age The most common childhood cancers include leukemia, lymphomas and brain tumours (Calvagna, 2003).
Fortunately, advancements in medicine, have led to better outcomes for children; in fact around 66% of children with cancer are cured (Calvagna, 2003). However, apart from medical needs for treatment children have other needs such as educational needs (missing out on school), social needs (making friends and socialising with peers etc.), emotional needs ( fear of the unknown, uncertainty etc.), psychological needs (anxiety, low self-esteem, depression etc.) and of future hopes and dreams.
Childhood cancers, like any other cancer carries with it anguish, suffering and pain. It is not a smooth ride as various lifestyle factors are disrupted; family life, economical concerns, limited employment etc. Thankfully, local research and international research is being constantly generated to help us improve the lifestyle of the child, not only physically but to also cater for the other needs, to treat the child holistically.
Calvagna, V. (2003). Paediatric cancer in Malta.
Danica Cassar is a third-year psychology student at the University of Malta. She is the Triage Manager at Willingness.com.mt.
You can visit her profile on: https://zme.tec.mybluehost.me/willingnessmt/team/danica-cassar/