Each year, 42 new cancer cases among children are recorded in Cyprus, while the cure rate of childhood cancer cases ranks the country among the top spots worldwide, according to the data given by Dr Loizos Loizou, the President of the “Elpida” (Hope) Foundation, during a press conference on the occasion of the International Childhood Cancer Day marked on February 15.
Dr Loizou noted that in many cases patients are sent abroad, mainly to Germany to university and other hospitals that have agreements with Cyprus.
Analysing statistics, Loizou said that research has shown that 42 new cases occur annually in Cyprus which concern the ages 0 to 19 years, constituting 1.5% of all cancer cases in the country each year. He added that boys are affected more often than girls by a ratio of 1.2 to 1.
He said that, lymphomas, leukemia, thyroid cancer, brain tumours, are among the most frequent childhood cancers.
Citing studies, he said, that, for thyroid cancer, the main data show that the incidence of thyroid cancer in children and adolescents aged 0-19 in Cyprus is among the highest in the world while a continuous increase is seen in teenagers, girls and boys, in the age group of 15-19 years.
He added that the annual percentage increase “is very high”, at 7.6%, noting that, every year, this increase in the number of new cases is observed, while the cases of metastatic thyroid cancer in adolescents aged 15-19 increased four times in the period 2008-2017 in relation to the decade 1998-2007.
Loizou said, that, thyroid cancer recovery is at 100%, lymphomas 95%, and leukemia (acute lymphoblastic) at 86%, while for all cancers at ages 0-19, survival is greater than 80%, which translates to survival of four children in five.
Also, in Cyprus, thyroid cancer constitutes almost 10% of the types of cancer in children aged 0-19, which differs from what is seen in many other countries which is only 0.5% to 3%, he added.
According to research cited by Loizou in girls, the incidence of thyroid cancer is 3.5 times higher than in boys, while papillary carcinoma of the thyroid is the most common type of this form of cancer. He noted that, it is encouraging and comforting that, “despite the almost fourfold increase in metastatic cases, survival in Cyprus is 100%”.
He said that, the findings in Cyprus of the causes of cancer in children and teenagers, raise particular questions and in this context, descriptive and analytical research is now being conducted to search for causes, exploring genetic, environmental and dietary factors. These studies are expected to be completed by the end of the year, he added.
The permanent secretary of the Ministry of Health, Christina Yiannaki, said that, a minor will be transferred on Thursday to Germany, for further treatment, while for 2023 the cases referred there are 15 of which two are for reassessment. In 2022 referrals to reference centres in Germany reached 38, she said.
During the event, two childhood cancer survivors spoke of their experience and sent out the message to children who are now going through the same and their parents to be strong and have faith that cancer can be beaten.
Source: Cyprus News Agency