Lions Fight Pediatric Cancer


On the occasion of the World Pediatric Cancer Awareness Day today 15th February 2021, The International Association of Lions Clubs reach out to pediatric cancer patients around the globe.

 Pediatric Cancer

They are cancerous diseases that affect children between age 0 and 19 years. They include Leukemia, which begins in blood forming tissue like bone marrow; Lymphoma, which begins in the cell of the immune system. Others are neuroblastoma, retinoblastoma, Wilms tumor, cancers of the brain, bone and soft tissue.

Though, childhood cancers are relatively rare when compared with adults, they are, however, the leading cause of death among children around the world. According to World Health Organization (WHO) report, about 300,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year.

According to WHO, more than 80% of children with cancer in high-income countries are cured, but in many Low- & Middle-Income Countries (LMICs), only 20% are cured.

The reasons for lower survival rates in LMICs, according to the report, include inability to obtain accurate diagnosis, inaccessible therapy, abandonment of treatment, death from toxicity (side effects), and excess relapse, in part due to lack of access to essential medicines and technologies.

Global Initiatives

In 2018, WHO launched the Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer with partners to provide leadership and technical assistance to support governments in building and sustaining high-quality childhood cancer programmes. The goal is to achieve at least 60% survival for all children with cancer globally by 2030. This represents an approximate doubling of the current cure rate and will save an additional one million lives over the next decade.

Lions Initiatives

In response to global call to fight pediatric cancer, the International Association of Lions Clubs responded by making childhood cancer as one of the cardinal programs for all lions’ districts and clubs. A report from Lions Club International Foundation reiterated that nearly 80% of children with cancer live in low or middle-income countries, where only 10% of children survive cancer. The good news according to the LCIF’s report is that the world can be more successful at curing cancer in children. However, much work needs to be done to improve access to drugs and treatment, train healthcare providers, improve facilities and technology, and address socio-cultural barriers to improve global childhood cancer survival rates in the sub-Sahara Africa

In the pursuit to bring succor to children living with cancer, Lions Clubs International Foundation in 2019,  entered into a formal patnership with Global HOPE (Hematology-Oncology Paediatric Excellence), to improve the standard of care for children with cancer in sub-Saharan Africa.

The LCIF Board of Trustees, according to the report, approved a 2-year strategic partnership between LCIF and Global HOPE to cooperate in building long-term capacity in Africa to treat and dramatically improve the prognosis for children with cancer and blood disorders in Sub-Saharan Africa. This partnership is aimed at strengthening the local healthcare infrastructure to effectively provide the multi-disciplinary care that is needed to optimally care for children with cancer and blood disorders.

The partnership includes LCIF funding support of US$2m over 2 years to support Global Hope infrastructure strengthening projects; Joint fundraising to mobilize financial support and engagement of community lions in the fight against childhood cancer.

At Nigeria’s District 404B1 level, the District Governor, Lion Lynda Odunmbaku, in a release, said the district will support infrastructures strengthening by donating two (2) Oxygen Concentrators and two (2) Automated Hand Dryers to children living with cancer in the pediatric clinics of Lagos University Teaching Hospital and Lagos State University teaching Hospital to commemorate the pediatric cancer awareness day. The Chairman, of the Pediatric Cancer Awareness Day Committee, District 404B1, Lion Leislie Olanrewaju said assorted provisions, toys and consumables will be given to children living with cancer.

 Childhood Cancer Cause (s)

Unlike cancer in adults, medical experts say the vast majority of childhood cancers do not have a known cause. According to medical reports, many studies have sought to identify the causes of childhood cancer, but very few cancers in children are caused by environmental or lifestyle factors.

WHO report said cancer prevention efforts in children should focus on behaviours that will prevent the child from developing preventable cancer as an adult.

Risk Factors

Some infections like HIV, Epstein-Barr virus (human herpesvirus 4) and malaria, can put children in the risk of pediatric cancer. These conditions according to WHO, increase the risk of some childhood cancers, and are common in LMIC. Infections also increase the child’s risk of developing cancer as an adult. It is, therefore very important to take children vaccination seriously. We must also ensure early diagnosis and screening of infections to decrease chronic infections that lead to cancer, whether in childhood or later.

Current data, according to WHO, suggest that approximately 10% of all children with cancer have a predisposition of genetic factors. Further research is required for affirmation

Early diagnosis

Early diagnosis makes cancer respond to treatment and result in a greater probability of survival, less suffering, and often less expensive and less intensive treatment. Significant improvements can be made in the lives of children with cancer by detecting cancer early and avoiding delays in care. A correct diagnosis is essential to treat children with cancer because each cancer requires a specific treatment regimen that may include surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy.

Early diagnosis, according to WHO consists of 3 components:

  • awareness by families and accessing care
  • clinical evaluation, diagnosis and staging (determining the extent to which cancer has spread)
  • access to treatment


A correct diagnosis, medical experts say, is essential to treat children with cancer because each cancer requires a specific treatment regimen. WHO said access to effective diagnosis, essential medicines, pathology, blood products, radiation therapy, technology and psychosocial and supportive care are variable and inequitable around the world.

“However, cure is possible for more than 80% of children with cancer, in most cases with inexpensive generic medications that are listed on the WHO List of Essential Medicines”


Palliative care

All hands must be on deck to provide shoch absorber to children suffering from cancer pains. Palliative care relieves painful symptoms caused by cancer and improves the quality of life of patients and their families. Not all children with cancer can be cured, but relief of suffering is possible for everyone.

Pediatric palliative care should be appropriately considered as a core component of comprehensive care starting when illness is diagnosed, and continued regardless of whether or not a child receives treatment with curative intent.

Palliative care programmes can be delivered through community- and home-based care to provide pain relief and psychosocial support to patients and their families. Adequate access to oral morphine and other pain should be provided for the treatment of moderate to severe cancer pain.


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  1. Spot on with this write-up, I honestly think this site needs far more attention. I’ll probably be back
    again to read more, thanks for the advice!


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