In a world first, Cancer Australia has released initial national data on childhood (paediatric) cancer stage at diagnosis. The data, which marks a significant advance in the reporting of national cancer data, shows that the majority of the most common childhood cancers are diagnosed at a limited stage, before they have spread to other parts of the body.
Parents of children diagnosed with cancer can take heart from the finding that not only were 12 of the 16 most common childhood cancers likely to be diagnosed at a limited stage, most of these cancer types also had higher five-year observed survival rates that those diagnosed at an advanced stage.
The new data covers the 16 most common childhood cancers, which represent approximately three-quarters of all childhood cancers diagnosed in Australia.
Until now, there has been no common and consistent way to record data on childhood cancer stage at diagnosis, which has been an identified gap both in Australia and internationally.
Knowing the distribution of stage at diagnosis and outcomes by stage will improve understanding of variations in survival, and will help to inform where best to invest cancer control efforts in terms of future research and targeted initiatives to improve outcomes for children with cancer.
To view the data, collected through collaboration between Cancer Australia and the Cancer Council Queensland and with involvement of all state and territory population-based cancer registries, visit Cancer Australia’s National Cancer Control Indicators website. The data can be viewed by tumour type, and provides information on stage distribution as well as five-year observed survival by stage at diagnosis.
It is anticipated that more detailed information will be available when the collection of data for 2011-2014 is finalised in early 2019.
More data on childhood cancers can be accessed at the statistics section or at the Cancer Council Queensland’s Australian Childhood Cancer Statistics Online website.