Cancer is a disease which can occur to anyone from any background at any age group, including children. Childhood cancer is the term coined for any cancers that are commonly associated with children.
Childhood Cancer in Malaysia
The incidence of childhood cancer in Malaysia is still stable as reported by the Ministry of Health. According to the statistics, the most common cancers among children are leukaemia, lymphoma and brain/nervous system cancer. The total number of childhood cancer cases from 2011 to 2016 is 3,829 cases comprising of 2,131 males and 1,698 females. Additionally, children are found to have higher survival rate for cancers that affect blood, bone marrow and lymph nodes compared to adults.
Despite the fact that childhood cancer can be considered as rare, we should not disregard this issue. This is because cancer may cause serious repercussions towards children particularly in terms of education and development. On top of that, some children might find it difficult to adjust with their condition as they are too young to understand the disease. So, it is important for us to always give moral support and promote positivity in them.
Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer
Across the globe, an average of 300,000 children are diagnosed with cancer every year. To prevent further escalation of this issue, the World Health Organisation (WHO) launched the Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer in 2018. The initiative has 2 main goals:
• Increase child cancer survival rates to at least 60%
• Alleviate suffering of all children by 2030
Find out more regarding the initiative here.
MAKNA Assistance for Children
At MAKNA, childhood cancer patients are eligible to receive assistance through our Bursary Programme. It is a financial aid which helps patients to purchase necessities and cover their hospital travel expense. Furthermore, MAKNA also provides financial assistance to enable young cancer patients or survivors to complete their education through our Young Survivor Scholarship Programme.
Like all cancers, early detection is crucial in reducing morbidity and mortality of childhood cancer. Parents or caregivers of children need to have the knowledge in identifying the symptoms of childhood cancer. Let us all act together to spread the awareness and support the children in their journey of fighting cancer. Together we can make a difference.
One of our beneficiaries, Faisal, has something to share regarding the struggle of having cancer at a young age. Watch the video below to hear his story.