The Problem Statement

 

Every year over half a million children develop cancer, leukemia or are born with life-threatening hereditary blood disorders such as thalassemia or sickle cell disease. As a group, they represent the most common Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) in many emerging countries. Most are curable but only a minority of children have access to appropriate care. A lack of trained personnel and/or financial resources are these children's major barriers to a healthy life. At Cure2Children our goal is to ensure that local medical centers are available to offer an affordable and reliable cure to children in their community suffering from cancer and other blood disorders. We also contribute the development of worldwide evidence-based diagnostic and management standards that improve a cure for all children with cancer and blood disorders regardless of geographical, financial, and cultural barriers.

What is pediatric hematology oncology?

Pediatrics

is the branch of medicine committed to curing children, from infants to adolescents.

Hematology

is the study of blood, blood-forming organs, and blood diseases, including thalassemia and sickle cell anemia.

Oncology

means ‘tumor’ or ‘mass’ in Ancient Greek and is the branch of medicine that tackles cancer, such as neuroblatoma and leukemia. In medicine and in reality these branches of study often come together to share research, opportunities for treatment, and cures for various diseases in a field known as Pediatric Hematology Oncology.

Leukemia

Leukemia refers to a range of diseases that affect blood, bone marrow, and the lymphoid system. More than 350,000 people are diagnosed with leukemia each and every year. Leukemia is the most frequent form of cancer in children and adolescence. Most forms of leukemia are managed by treating the bone marrow. These treatments usually involve pharmaceutical medications, combined multi-drug chemotherapy, radiation, or in some cases, bone marrow transplantation.

Neuroblastoma

Neuroblastoma is a form of cancer most commonly diagnosed in children under 5 years old and occurs in 1 of every 100,000 children. It is one of the top causes of deaths from cancer in children and more research needs to be done to improve global standards for diagnose and treatment of this disease that makes such services available in both high and low resource setting.

Sickle Cell Disease

A few million children in Sub-Saharian Africa have Sickle cell disease, most of whom may not live beyond adolescence. Even though the WHO has recognized the size of the problems and it's increasing burden, very little has been done so far. Sickle-cell disease is a genetic blood disorder characterized by the production of sickle shaped red blood cells. A sickle is a “C” shaped farmers tool. These abnormal arched red blood cells have a very rigid shape that leads to a variety of complications. Children born with sickle-cell anemia suffer from chronic pain episodes when the rigid sickle-shaped blood cells block small blood vessels. They also experience slow growth due to low iron levels, vision problems, enlarge sleep, stoke, and death. Treatment for sickle-cell disease is a life long battle. A one-time Bone Marrow Transplantation is the only existing cure; after which the child will go on to live an entirely normal and healthy life.

Thalassemia

Thalassemia is common in the Middle East and South Asia, with several hundred thousand children affected. No symptoms are visible at birth for children born with thalassemia. However due to a genetic mutation or missing gene, children do not produce enough of the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. If left untreated, these children develop an enlarge spleen and liver, osteoporosis, abnormal facial structure, infections, heart problems, and often death before their tenth birthday. For children with thalassemia major, treatment involves a combination of medicine and essential monthly blood transfusions beginning in infancy and continuing on every week indefinitely. Thus treatment is not an option for many where blood transfusions are not a logistical or financial possibility. A one-time Bone Marrow Transplantation is the only existing cure for thalassemia; after which the child is cured and will go on to live an entirely normal and healthy life.

We believe that to empower healthcare systems more attention has to be given to issues that are important but not urgent. Focusing on humanitarian emergencies is not enough and may not attract and retain the qualified local health professionals that are needed to improve the local healthcare system. At Cure2Children we work with global leaders at country level to design, test, and implement local solutions for one of the world’s biggest development challenges: That children have access to affordable and reliable care locally.

Learn more by reading answers to our Frequently Asked Questions