For the first time Australian doctors, researchers and the community will have greater insight into the impact of childhood cancer across the country, as Cancer Council Queensland releases a comprehensive suite of statistics online today.
Australian Childhood Cancer Statistics Online will give people access to the latest incidence, survival and mortality data by sex and age, along with trends over time, for the most common cancers diagnosed among children.
Released to coincide with International Childhood Cancer Awareness Day (February 15), the information can be used by healthcare professionals and researchers to better understand the burden of childhood cancer in Australia and help shape cancer control.
In Australia, more than 750 children aged 0-14 are diagnosed with cancer each year.
Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan said this was the first time statistics from the Australian Childhood Cancer Registry (ACCR) had been made available online in this format.
“CCQ funds and manages the ACCR, working with Australian State and Territory Cancer Registries to ensure that all childhood cancer statistics are collected, tracked and analysed across the nation,” Ms McMillan said.
“The ACCR is fully funded by donations received by Cancer Council Queensland and is one of only a few national childhood cancer registries in the world.
“After more than 30 years of collecting national clinical data on childhood cancers we’re proud to now share this vital information with Australians through on online format to ensure that the statistics are freely and readily available to families, doctors, and all with an interest in this area.
“The online platform will provide accurate information on the number of children who are diagnosed with cancer, their rates of survival and current trends – information that is vital for research and advocacy to improve outcomes for children with cancer.
“We hope the data will also drive new research projects into the causes, prevention and cure of childhood cancers, which remains one of the leading causes of death among Australian children.”
Australian Childhood Cancer Statistics Online can be accessed at cancerqld.org.au/research/accr.
Cancer Council Queensland researchers recently used ACCR data to conduct the world’s first trial of a new systematic approach to classifying the extent of cancer at the time of diagnosis in children.
This project was funded by Cancer Australia as part of the Agency’s national initiative to strengthen national data capacity by collecting and reporting cancer stage at diagnosis for the first time in Australia.
In an independent commentary published last month in The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health, this research was hailed as the first step in developing a unified system for global monitoring of childhood cancer with the potential to transform the way childhood cancer is registered and tracked throughout the world.
“This was the first international trial of this new system, and the Australian Childhood Cancer Registry is the only national registry to have tested this,” Ms McMillan said.
“The work has the clear potential to inform and track the success of interventions targeting improved diagnosis and survival for children with cancer.”
Currently, funded by Cancer Australia through the Australian Government’s Fighting Childhood Cancer Measure, Cancer Council Queensland is collecting cancer stage data for 16 common childhood tumour types.
“Funding and continued investment into population-based cancer registries is critical to the advancement of cancer control in Australia, to ensure those diagnosed have the best chance of surviving this disease,” Ms McMillan said.
“Cancer registries are vital for monitoring the success of cancer prevention, early detection and treatment strategies.”
Statistics are currently available for the period from 1983 to 2014 and will be updated annually.
For more information about Cancer Council Queensland visit cancerqld.org.au or phone 13 11 20.