Malignant Disease in Childhood
Cancer in childhood is fortunately rare, with an approximate annual incidence of 100 cases per million children in the developed world. It is, nevertheless, the commonest disease to kill children in our society and as effective treatment has become available for an increasing proportion of paediatric malignancies so it has become increasingly important to ensure that all effected children receive appropriate therapy. The spectrum of malignant disease is very different in children and adults. Whereas 85? of the tumours in an adult population are carcinomas, this is true of less than 5% of childhood malignancies. Almost half of the malignancies in childhood are leukaemias and lymphomas, and the rest consist primarily of a variety of primitive embryonal tumours that are rarely seen in adults. Failure to appreciate these differences was a major cause for the poor prognosis of paediatric tumours until recently. The primary reason for the improved prognosis in the last two decades has been the development of treatment protocols appropriate for these specific diseases. The overall incidence of childhood cancer has remained stable, but the death rate has fallen successively. The survival rate has more than doubled in the last 20 years (Table 1).
KeywordsLymphoma Adenocarcinoma Hydrocortisone Shrinkage Oncol
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