Statistics released today, to coincide with World Cancer Day on Wednesday 4 February, reveal that 504 children aged under 14 are currently living with cancer in Victoria.
The research, commissioned by children's cancer charity Camp Quality and conducted by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, gives the most up to date available picture of how many children in each state are on the cancer journey. Any child who had been diagnosed in the five preceding years was counted in the research, to reflect how many kids were still on active treatment and in the midst of the intensity of the cancer journey.
Simon Rountree, Camp Quality's Chief Executive, said: 'This number is just the tip of the iceberg. Most childhood cancer survivors will have one or more ongoing chronic health, social or developmental challenges as a result of having intense treatment so young. That's why, at Camp Quality, we support kids beyond remission. They may've missed lots of school and lots of opportunities to just be a kid from all their time in hospitals and clinics. Camp Quality's programs are designed to give kids back their childhood – after cancer has attempted to steal it from them."
Camp Quality's programs – at hospital, at home, at school and away from it all at camp – support children with cancer, their siblings and their parents at each stage of the cancer journey – diagnosis, treatment, remission and – for the families of 120 Australian kids under 14 each year – bereavement.
As of February 2014, the World Health Organisation reported that cancer is now the biggest killer in Australia, overtaking heart disease. Cancer is the biggest killer of children from disease in Australia.