30 July, 2021

The Shadow Of The Crab

A worrisome rise in the cases of childhood cancer—55,000 per year—pains hearts, draws tears

Sanjay Rawat
The Shadow Of The Crab

Catching Them Young

  • 55,000 children diagnosed with cancer every year in India
  • Worldwide, the annual figure is 2 lakh; in the US, 12,500
  • Studies show a direct link between increased urbanisation and childhood cancer worldwide
  • Only 5 per cent of childhood cancer is hereditary; 95 per cent of the causes are external factors: viruses, pollution, radiation etc
  • In 2009, India had only 55 paediatric oncologists, 15 of them in Mumbai; even the rest are available only in cities.
  • Paediatric oncology not recognised as a speciality in over 250 medical colleges across the country
  • The commonest childhood cancer is leukaemia; lymphomas, brain tumours, tumours of bone and soft tissue rank next
  • Childhood cancer constitutes just four per cent of total cancer in India—the rising figures are a cause of concern, not excess alarm


Nitish loves a red toy car and thinks eating Maggi noodles is a treat. He smiles...

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