MONTEVIDEO – An average of 150 new pediatric cancer cases affecting children up to the age of 15 are registered each year in Uruguay, with nearly 80 percent of these patients recovering, health-care industry representatives told EFE on Wednesday.
In Uruguay, “we have a pretty stable incidence, below the age of 15, around 150 new cases per year, but we have more than 2,500 (children) under monitoring and treatment. The cure rate in Uruguay is at 78 percent,” Perez Scremini Foundation director Dr. Luis Castillo said.
The cure rate is so high because children have access to free comprehensive treatment in Uruguay, giving the country one of the highest childhood cancer survival rates in Latin America.
Leukemia and lymphomas are the most common cancers among children and teenagers in Uruguay, but different types of tumors, including those affecting the nervous system, are also diagnosed.
The Perez Scremini Foundation, which treats nearly all pediatric cancer patients in Uruguay, marked International Childhood Cancer Day on Wednesday with a ceremony to raise public awareness of this disease.
The foundation provides pediatric oncology services at Montevideo’s Pereira Rossell Hospital, where volunteers displayed posters and handed out gold ribbons to passersby.
The Perez Scremini Foundation treats about 2,000 children and teenagers annually, with about 1,200 patients in the monitoring phase and some 800 undergoing treatment.
Funds are being raised for the foundation as part of a plan to build a state-of-the-art laboratory that will make more modern therapies available and expand the treatment age to 18 for all patients.