The researchers concluded that the long-term survival rate increased just as quickly. The greatest progress has been made among young people aged 15-17.
Lead researcher Henrike Karim-Kos said the results are “encouraging to see,” “but our analysis also confirms that there is still a long way to go.” For example, children with certain brain tumors, such as neuroblastoma, still look worse than other cancers. More than 30 percent of children in whom such a tumor is found are no longer alive after five years.
The researchers analyzed data from more than 14,000 patients under the age of 18 from the Dutch Cancer Registry. According to the Center for Pediatric Oncology, this is the “first study of developments in childhood cancer survival and death rates nationally.” The results were published in the European Journal of Cancer.
Pediatric oncologist Rob Peters, who is also a member of the center’s board of directors in Utrecht, says advances in care and research in recent years have “turned to a higher level”. It points, for example, to the development of promising new forms of immunotherapy. As a result, some children with difficult-to-treat forms of neuroblastoma and leukemia are now cancer-free. He hopes and expects more progress in the coming years.
The Foundation for Kids Free from Cancer (KiKa) considers the results a milestone. For company founder Frits Hirschstein, the study is “evidence that more money for research leads to more treatments.” So the organization is “happy and proud,” he says.
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