International Childhood Cancer Day 2021: All you need to know

International Childhood Cancer Day

ICCD is global campaign to raise awareness about childhood cancer. It is to express support for children & adolescents with cancer patients & their family. 15th of February is International Childhood Cancer Day.

In the 20th edition of the International Childhood Cancer Awareness Day, and the International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP) & Childhood Cancer International (CCI) unveil a joint three-year campaign.

That was, ‘Tree of Life’ concept and Advocacy Toolkit to amplify the message of hope and accelerate life-saving progress for young cancer patients worldwide.

Their message in 2021 is “Better Survival” is achievable #throughourhands. For ICCD 2021-23, STOP & CCI selected the tree of life. That is the universal symbol of growth and renewal, to send a powerful message.

Childhood cancer can be cured and the well-being of survivors achieved if all stakeholders continue acting resolutely together in key areas.

The ICCD toolkit is designed to guide the community to participate and make their voices heard.

This toolkit includes creative ways to achieve a strong virtual presence and interact online as well as take actions at the national, regional and global levels.

This 3-year campaign is fully aligned with the #CureAll strategy of the landmark WHO Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer (GICC).

That was launched in 2018. International Childhood Cancer Day put the spotlight on childhood cancer as a priority on the international health agenda.

Both STOP & CCI are partners in the GICC working as part of an unprecedented global effort.

Actually, childhood cancer means cancer in a child. An arbitrarily adopted standard of the ages used are 0–14 years inclusive, that is, up to 14 years 11.9 months of age in the United States.

Sometimes, the definition of childhood cancer includes adolescents between 15–19 years old.

Paediatric oncology is the branch of medicine concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of cancer in case of children.

It is estimated that childhood cancer has an incidence of more than 175,000 per year, and a mortality rate of approximately 96,000 per year worldwide.

In developed countries, childhood cancer has a mortality of approximately 20% of cases.

Mortality is approximately 80% or even 90% in the world’s poorest countries.  The incidence is slowly increasing, as rates of childhood cancer increased by 0.6% per year between 1975 and 2002 in many developed countries like the United States & by 1.1% per year between 1978 and 1997 in Europe.

Unlike adult cancer it is typically, arise from years of DNA damage, childhood cancers are caused by a misappropriation of normal developmental processes.

Signs & Symptoms

Learning problems

Children suffering from cancer are at the risk of developing various cognitive or learning problems.

It may be related to brain injury stemming from cancer. They may be brain tumour or central nervous system metastasis or from side effects of cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

It is studied that not always but chemo and radiation therapies may damage brain white matter and disrupts brain activity.

This problem is known as post-chemotherapy cognitive impairment (PCCI) or “chemo brain.”

It is commonly used by cancer survivors who describe having thinking and memory problems after cancer treatment.

It is not sure what exactly causes chemo brain; however, they say it is likely to either be linked to the cancer itself, the cancer treatment, or be an emotional reaction to both. It may be noticed after few years of treatment.

Risk factors

Generic factors are identified in 5% to 15% of childhood cancer. In less than 10% cases environmental exposures and exogenous factors, such as prenatal exposure to tobacco, X-rays, or certain medications are responsible. Risk of childhood cancer is different from adult.


The most common cancers in children are leukemia (32%), brain tumors (18%), and lymphomas (11%).

The number of new cases was highest among the age group of 1 to 4 years, but the number of deaths was highest among the 10–14 age groups.

During 2005, 2.9 of every 100,000 person 1 to 19 year’s children were found to have brain cancer & 0.7 per 100,000 died from it.

That was found most often in the age group of 1 to 4 years, but most death were from 5 to 9 years. 


Treatment is frequently limited to chemo radiotherapy; it is a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

The cytotoxicity of chemotherapy may result in immediate and long-term treatment-related comorbidities.

In India, almost 3 to 5% of the childhood cancer comprises. According to Indian cancer society it is assumed that about 50,000 children of 0 to 19 years are diagnosed with cancer each year.

Following are 10 10 myths about childhood cancer busted that will help families combat it better…

  • Child with cancer lose all reason for living

The fact is children suffering from cancer can enjoy normal childhood; they can go to school after treatment.

  • Childhood cancer is a death sentence

The fact is most childhood cancers are curable. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia is a common form of leukemia, 3 in 4 children can be cured by chemotherapy alone. It depends upon early diagnosis & proper treatment.

  • Childhood cancer is hereditary

That is not true, there is not known reason for many childhood cancers. As the triggers of the most childhood cancer are unknown, preventive measures are limited.

Studies suggest that, there is nothing a child or parent has done to induce cancer that should avoid preventing childhood cancer.

  • Cancer is contagious and can spread like flu

A big no for that, cancer is not contagious & it will not spread from one child to another. The patient has to wear mask to protect them from infection, as their own immunity is very low.

  • Survivors are disease carriers and health risk to others.

The fact is childhood cancer is not contagious, it cannot transmit by a virus nor it is infectious. It is safe to interact with the patient.

  • Myth Cancer survivors have a short life

The fact is two out of three patients may have risk of late effects or secondary cancers depending upon the kind of cancer; however, this is not linked to life expectancy.

  • All survivors are genetically inferior and have fertility problems, they can never have children

Actually, in some case it may happened, but this isn’t true for many survivors, as the type of cancer and its treatment determines if they’ll have any fertility challenges.

  • Childhood cancer survivors are cured survivors who no longer need any follow up care

Continue follow up care is important for survivors. They may be at higher risk for secondary cancers or chronic health conditions related to their initial cancer treatment.

Regular monitoring is important for early identification and treatment of any health challenge for impairment.

  • Chemotherapy makes the child lose hair permanently

No, hair loss is temporary due to chemotherapy.

  • Childhood cancer is Rare

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Worldwide a child is diagnosed with cancer every three minutes.