Nearly half of global childhood cancer cases go undiagnosed

Tens of thousands of cancers are missed each year, particularly in countries where children have poor access to health care.

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Almost half of childhood cancer cases worldwide go undiagnosed, according to an analysis.

Using data from the World Health Organization (WHO), researchers estimate that in 2015, 397,000 children under 15 developed cancer globally — and that 43% of those cases went undiagnosed.

The figures are much higher than those from official cancer registries, say the scientists, meaning that tens of thousands of children each year go without treatment, and potentially die from the disease without knowing they have it.

Previous estimates have suggested that 200,000 children worldwide are diagnosed with cancer each year.

The true number of cancer cases in many countries is hard to pin down, because most do not record such data. In West Africa, for example, only Mali and Cameroon have publicly available registry data on childhood cancers. And in the countries that do have registries, many cases might be missed, and therefore go undocumented.

By: Kelly Oakes/Nature News

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