Doctors at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals report 50 decline in paediatric cancer diagnosis
Experts at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals have reported a 50% decline in the diagnosis of cancer in children at early stages and also a dip in patients who were showing early symptoms over telecalls that did not report to the tertiary care centers.
New Delhi: The COVID 19 pandemic has taken a toll on the timely diagnosis and treatment of chronic diseases for over ten months now. Preventive care for diseases like cancer is one of the worst-hit especially among children with cancer and chronic blood disorders. Parents have been extra apprehensive and skeptical of getting their children in need of cancer care and management to hospitals as these children are immunocompromised and hence more vulnerable to complications of COVID 19.
Their conditions have now progressed towards the advanced stage of cancer. It is estimated that every year over 60,000 children between below 18 years of age are detected with cancer and while the mortality rate in child cancers is very low (if diagnosed and treated in the early stages), fear of COVID 19 in the past year has forced people to delay treatment of children undergoing cancer/anti-cancer therapies. Experts at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals have reported a 50% decline in the diagnosis of cancer in children at early stages and also a dip in patients who were showing early symptoms over telecalls that did not report to the tertiary care centers.
Dr Gaurav Kharya, Clinical Lead, Centre for Bone Marrow Transplant and Cellular Therapy & Senior Consultant, Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Immunology, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi, said, "Over the past five years Delhi has reported the highest number of cases of childhood cancer with approximately 253.3 boys per million cases and 152.3 girls per million cases between the age of 2-11 years. The most common cancer reported in children was Leukemia. One of the key reasons behind Delhi reporting the highest number of cases is drainage of the patients in Delhi from nearby states where the pediatric oncology services are not robust. "
The pandemic literally brought the world to a standstill and pediatric cancers are no exception to this. We saw a drop in the number of cases. Even the cases who were suspected or diagnosed at the periphery and were referred to Paediatric Oncology Setups for further care did not report to the tertiary care centres due to pandemic fear" he further added.