FACTS AND FIGURES

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FACTS AND FIGURES

  1. In Russia, the number of children and adolescents under 18 annually diagnosed with cancers and serious blood diseases is about 5,000. Among them, about 3,000 are children under 14 years old.
  2. On average, one in approximately 600 children and adolescents will have some kind of cancer or serious blood disease before reaching 18 years old.
  3. Leukaemia represents the most common type of child cancer.
  4. The peak incidence of childhood leukaemia (specifically, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia) is most commonly observed in children aged 2 to 6 years old.
  5. Comparative incidence of various child cancers:
    • Various kinds of leukaemia: 33%
    • Tumours of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord): 17%
    • Lymphomas (Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin): 11%
    • Neuroblastoma: 8%
    • Soft-tissue tumours: 7%
    • Kidney tumours: 6%
    • Bone tumours: 5%
    • Germ cell tumours: 3%
    • Other tumours: 5%
  1. In western countries, with the most advanced medicine, the survival rate in childhood cancer is about 80%. In Russia, it has risen from 50% in the recent past, but is still less, currently at 70%.
  2. Unfortunately, treatment for childhood cancers in Russia often starts too late, frequently due to diagnostic errors or inadequate initial therapy.
  3. Haematological malignancies, such as various kinds of leukaemia and lymphoma, are among the most curable childhood cancers. About 80% of children with these diagnoses can be cured. Many other tumours are also effectively treated using contemporary treatment protocols.
  4. About 20 years ago, Russian haematologists could cure no more than 5% children with leukaemia. A breakthrough took place when Russian physicians started training in the West and gained experience from working with foreign colleagues.
  5. About 10% of Russian children diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia need Erwinase, a drug not registered in Russia. Physicians estimate paediatric haematology departments in Russiaa nnually need about 240 packs of Erwinase. One pack costs £3000. The Russian state budget does not provide money to buy this drug for patients, so Gift of Life in Russia [Podari Zhizn] raises funds to purchase it. We plan to spend about £500,000 annually on Erwinase for Russian children with leukaemia.
  6. Approximately 20% of children with blood malignancies may need bone marrow transplantation.
  7. Only 20% to 25% of children who need bone marrow transplantation have matching bone marrow donors among relatives. (Donors are usually siblings.)
  8. Russia has no national bone marrow donor registry. Therefore, for Russian children, searches for unrelated donors must use international (foreign) registries.
  9. Some Russian patients, especially those belonging to small ethnic groups living in Russia, have no matching donors in international registries.
  10. The search for bone marrow donors in an international registry costs about £4,500. Graft harvesting – i.e. the process of taking haematopoietic (bone marrow) cells from a donor – costs £9,000 to £12,000. This sum covers the donor’s journey to hospital and accommodation, the doctor’s fee, paid leave for the donor, and medical insurance. The donor himself or herself does not get any financial reward for this selfless help.
  11. The search for unrelated donors in international registries and graft harvesting outside Russia are expenses that are not covered by the Russian state budget. Either the patient’s family or (in most cases) charity organisations must raise the necessary sum.
  12. Presently about 200 bone marrow transplants from unrelated donors are annually performed in Russia. However, the needed number is about 1,000.
  13. The percentage of patients recovering after bone marrow transplants varies greatly depending on diagnosis, choice of donor (related or unrelated, fully or partially matched), and the child’s condition, among other factors. In some diseases, over 80% of transplants from related donors are successful; in other cases less than 50% of patients survive. When a transplant is recommended, it is usually the patient’s main or only chance of survival.