Author : Habib, OS.
The Medical Journal of Basrah University,
Volume 35, Issue 1, Pages 1-10
Background: Childhood cancer represents an important health problem in Basrah with an incidence rate as high as rates in western countries. Little is known about the prognosis and survival of children diagnosed with malignancy after initiation of treatment.
Objectives: to estimate the one-year survival of children diagnosed with malignant diseases in Basrah and to identify non–medical risk factors for the risk of death during the first year following diagnosis.
Methods: This is a hospital-based follow up study of 352 children aged less than 15 years diagnosed with any sort of malignant disease. The study was conducted in Basrah Specialized Hospital for Children over the period (1st of October 2012 to 31st December 2013) and enrolled all newly diagnosed cases during two calendar years (2011-2012 inclusive). The fate of each and every case was ascertained chronologically during and at the end of the 12 months after diagnosis.
Results: The results showed that, of the 352 cases followed up, 102 ( 29.0%) completed their treatment courses at the end of 1st year while 105 (29.8 %) of them were still continuing on treatment , 19 (5.4%) relapsed and still on treatment and 89 ( 25.3 %) of the cases died by the end of first year. The remaining have stopped treatment 25 ( 7.1% ), refused treatment in Basrah 10 ( 2.8% ) or transferred elsewhere on medical advice 2 (0.6%).
The one year survival rate for all the studied children was 74.7%, Thus the one year mortality was 25.3%). Among a set of variables, three "female gender, better mother education and modern type of family accommodation" were significant predictors of one year survival of a child with cancer.
Conclusions: Childhood cancer is major health problem in Basrah in terms of incidence and burden on the health care system. Despite all efforts the one year survival rate was much lower than corresponding figures in many other countries.