Childhood and adolescent cancer in Chile: examining challenges and shaping tomorrow

Palma et al.


The aim of this study was to describe the epidemiology of childhood cancer in Chile and the disease landscape, assessing achievements, collaborations, and future challenges to be addressed by the National Plan for Child and Adolescent Cancer Control.


This descriptive study provides a general overview of national and international collaboration strategies and discusses the results of the Third Childhood Cancer Surveillance Report (2017–2019), the St. Jude Pediatric Oncology Facility Integrated Local Evaluation Tool (or PrOFILE) report, collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization within the framework of the Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer and the development of the National Plan for Child and Adolescent Cancer Control within the CureAll framework. 


The analysis reveals the impact of childhood cancer by considering the incidence between 2017 and 2019, encompassing gender disparities. Leukemia is the most frequently occurring type of cancer, accounting for 40.4% of cancers among children and adolescents younger than 15 years and with an incidence of 57.5 cases per 1 million children in this age group. Cancer is the second leading cause of death among those aged 5–14 years. Cancer survival increased between 2007 and 2019, with 78.4% survival at 5 years post-diagnosis in 2023. The development of the National Plan for Child and Adolescent Cancer Control involved assessing the situation, setting goals and devising an action plan to reduce mortality from cancer in childhood and increase survival rates through early interventions and smooth transitions to adult care. 


Chile has made progress in childhood cancer indicators, particularly in increasing survival, demonstrating its commitment to improving care for children with cancer, and this has been achieved through legislative frameworks, national planning, collaborative partnerships and participation in global initiatives. Despite the progress made, ongoing research, strong policy implementation, and multidisciplinary collaborations remain vital to addressing persistent challenges. This study highlights the need to refine health systems, data collection methodologies and global cooperation to ensure optimal care for every child facing cancer, thus improving their chances of survival and their overall quality of life.

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Original research