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Childhood cancer research in danger
Date:2/8/2011

striking", said Professor Kathy Pritchard-Jones, Cancer Programme Director at the UCL Institute of Child Health, London, UK and Past President of SIOPE. "For example, a respondent from Bosnia-Herzegovina cited lack of hospital space, no specialist paediatric oncology radiologists, and inadequate diagnostic facilities, with everything adapted to adult patients. The Czech Republic said that research grants were usually for only three years and there was little support for young scientists to attend international courses and congresses which could help harmonise the level of knowledge across European states."

In Italy, it was the fragmentation of childhood cancer care which concerned doctors, with nearly 50 centres specialising in paediatric haematology and oncology, and a lack of co-ordination between research laboratories and clinics. In comparison, Sweden has only six paediatric oncology units, which work closely together but, even there, there are problems of funding and a lack of experienced staff. The UK expressed concern about the effects of health service cuts on children's cancer care, and the fact that infrastructure changes had moved paediatrics alongside the adult cancer model, meaning that research for children now has to compete for funds at a much more visible level with research for adults.

The authors also found large differences in the provision of information on childhood cancer, with variations in the involvement of parental organisations, the use of digital media, and the adoption of a common national standard for information provision. "When a child is sick, the provision of accurate information to the patient and family is essential" said Professor Sullivan. "We believe that the establishment of a European Common Information Portal could do much to tackle major deficiencies in information in countries with few or no patient organisations, or where the existence of a large number of languages make access to such inform
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Contact: Mary Rice
mary@mrcommunication.org
ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation
Source:Eurekalert

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