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Kids' Cancer Survival Low in Many Countries

Survey finds 'dismal' chances in less developed countries; survival linked to health expenditures

TUESDAY, July 29 (HealthDay News) -- Annual per-capita government health expenditures are associated with survival of children with cancer in 10 low- and middle-income countries, and half of these countries offer very poor chances of survival for these children, according to research published in the August issue of The Lancet Oncology.

Raul C. Ribeiro, M.D., of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., and colleagues assessed interviews with health-related professionals and analyzed other data from 10 countries receiving support from the My Child Matters pediatric cancer funding program.

Postulated five-year survival was 5 percent to 10 percent in Bangladesh, the Philippines, Senegal, Tanzania and Vietnam; 30 percent in Morocco; and between 40 percent and 60 percent in Egypt, Honduras, Ukraine and Venezuela. Postulated survival was correlated with annual government health expenditure per capita in the countries overall, per capita gross domestic product and number of physicians and nurses per 1,000 people.

"Detailed surveys can provide useful data for baseline assessment of the status of paediatric oncology, but cannot substitute for national cancer registration. Alliances between public, private, and international agencies might rapidly improve the outcome of children with cancer in these countries," Ribeiro writes.

Two co-authors are employees of Sanofi-Aventis, which partly funded the study and is a backer of the My Child Matters program.

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