Cyprus records 42 childhood cancers yearly

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Cyprus records 42 new cancer cases among children a year, but the over 80% survival rates are among the best in the world, according to Dr Loizos Loizou, head of the Hope Foundation.

Dr Loizou noted that in many cases, patients are sent abroad, mainly to Germany to university and other hospitals that have agreements with Cyprus.

He said that research has shown that 42 new cases occur annually, which concern the ages 0 to 19, constituting 1.5% of all cancer cases.

Boys are affected more often than girls by a ratio of 1.2 to 1.

He said that lymphomas, leukaemias, thyroid cancer, and brain tumours are among the most frequent childhood cancers.

Studies 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%.

“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 2008-2017 compared to the decade 1998-2007.”

Loizou said thyroid cancer recovery is at 100%, lymphomas at 95%, and leukaemia (acute lymphoblastic) at 86%.

For all cancers at ages 0-19, survival is greater than 80%, which translates to the survival of four children in five.

“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%.”

According to research cited by Loizou in girls, thyroid cancer is 3.5 times higher than in boys, while papillary carcinoma of the thyroid is the most common type.

“It is encouraging and comforting that despite the almost fourfold increase in metastatic cases, survival in Cyprus is 100%”.

He said that findings in Cyprus on the causes of cancer in children raise specific questions.

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.