The WHO Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer aims to increase survival to at least 60% for all children with cancer globally, with initial focus on six common curable cancer types. Frequent causes of treatment failure in low income countries (LICs) are treatment abandonment and death during treatment. Here, we report on the outcome at the end of treatment of patients with newly diagnosed common and curable cancer types, admitted in the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Blantyre, Malawi.
Outcome at end of treatment was documented and analyzed retrospectively for all children with a working diagnosis of a common and curable cancer type (ALL, Hodgkin disease, Wilms tumor, retinoblastoma, and Burkitt lymphoma) admitted over a 2-year period. Patients with a misdiagnosis were excluded. Outcomes were categorized as alive without evidence of disease, treatment abandonment, death during treatment, or persistent disease.
We included 264 patients. Seven patients with a misdiagnosis were excluded. At the end of treatment, 53% (139 of 264) of patients were alive without evidence of disease, 19% (49 of 264) had abandoned treatment, 23% (61 of 264) had died during treatment, and 6% (15 of 264) had persistent disease.
Survival of children with common and curable cancers is (significantly) below 50%. Almost half (42%) of the patients either abandoned treatment or died during treatment. Strategies to enable parents to complete treatment of their child and improved supportive care are needed. Such interventions may need to be given priority to improve the currently poor survival.
© 2020 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.