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EJC News Focus – March 2013

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'New impetus is needed' to tackle the global burden of childhood cancer

Improvements in child cancer survival rates mean that 80% are now potentially curable with current treatments. Despite this, almost 100,000 children under 15 die from cancer, every year.

In a new Lancet Oncology Series, experts are challenging public policy on childhood cancer and calling for new determination to focus on the specific needs of children and young people with cancer.

In Europe and the States, for example, increasingly strict regulations governing clinical trials and data protection are hampering research and slowing down the development of new treatments for childhood cancers. In poorer countries, the key problem may be poor availability of basic healthcare but much has been achieved in some by politicians motivated to create sustainable infrastructure.

Richard Sullivan (King's Health Partners Integrated Cancer Centre, London) co-edited the series, and is also editor of the new online Journal of Cancer Policy, which will publish follow-up papers on paediatric oncology from this autumn. In this month's EJC News Focus, he tells Helen Saul that the current political climate is 'lukewarm' on the issue of childhood cancer, and why that needs to change.