More than 80% of children with cancer treated with modern multidisciplinary treatments in developed countries survive their illness. That’s according to a report in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Of the 160,000 children and adolescents diagnosed annually, approximately 80 per cent live in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs), where high-quality hospitals with cancer services are not available. As a result, many patients seek cancer treatment abroad as medical tourists at the best oncology hospitals, as highlighted in this article.
Another study, conducted in 2020, showed that despite positive outcomes for most forms of pediatric cancer in high-income settings (HIS), certain forms of the disease still proved challenging. These were bone sarcomas and particular forms of brain tumours.
Despite overall improvements in survival rates for pediatric oncology and the outcomes for most childhood malignancies in high-income settings, cancer is the leading cause of death in children aged 14 years and under in Western Europe.
The hospitals in this list are rated amongst the best children’s cancer hospitals globally:
1. Sick Kids, Toronto, Canada
Sick Kids deals with 275 new pediatric cancer cases in children annually – 20% of all new pediatric cancer cases in Canada. Around 40% of children are diagnosed with leukaemia/lymphoma, 30% have a solid tumour malignancy such as a sarcoma, and 30% present with a brain tumour.
The Sick Kids Division of Haematology/Oncology in Pediatrics is one of the largest departments in the hospital. It provides a diagnostic service and specialist care for children under 18 years of age with cancer (pediatric oncology), non-malignant blood diseases (pediatric haematology) and haematopoietic stem cell (blood and marrow) transplantation.
The hospital has Accreditation with Exemplary Standing, the highest standing possible from Accreditation Canada. It’s also recognised as being one of the best children’s hospitals in the world.
2. Boston Children’s Hospital, United States
Ranked as the top children’s hospital by U. S. News & World Report for eight consecutive years, the Dana-Farber Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Centre offers an integrated haematology and pediatric oncology program. The expertise is focussed on five main clinical areas: Blood Disorders, Brain Tumours, Hematologic Malignancy, Liver Tumours and Solid Tumours.
The hospital is New England’s Phase I referral centre for the Children’s Oncology Group (COG). As such, it offers clinical trials for drugs still in the investigation stage.
3. Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, UK
Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) is the biggest children’s cancer unit in the UK and the largest oncology centre in Europe.
Researchers at GOSH place a particular focus on understanding the genetic profile of each child’s cancer so that they can match their profile to clinical trials and treatments that are most likely to work for them.
The Haematology and Oncology team treat children with cancer, from blood to solid tumours. They also treat patients with the more common forms of leukaemia to those with rarer cancers in pediatric oncology, such as neuroblastoma.
GOSH received £1.7m in grant funding in 2021 from Cancer Research UK-Children at the Cancer UK Innovation Awards. This is down to its status as one of the world’s best children’s cancer hospitals.
4. Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Liverpool, UK
Established in 1914, the pediatric oncology and haematology team annually care for more than 120 children and young people with cancer and over 300,000 young patient’s across all pediatric conditions annually. They have a dedicated teenage unit for those aged 13-18.
Alder Hey is highly-regarded for its pediatric clinical research studies into children’s medicines, infection, inflammation and oncology and has over 100 studies ongoing at any given time.
All patients are under the care of a Consultant Pediatric Oncologist or a Consultant Pediatric Haematologist, specialising in treating solid cancers or leukaemia.
Alder Hey was the first pediatric hospital accredited by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for public health promotion.
5. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, United States
The hospital’s pediatric surgical oncology team consists of experts with extensive experience in various types of cancer. These include neuroblastoma, brain and bone tumours, in addition to other rare and hard-to-treat cancers.
Their integrative Oncology Program combines conventional and complementary approaches to pediatric cancer, looking at the medical, psychological, social and spiritual sides.
The Division of Oncology was ranked No 1 in America by the US News & World Report for 2021-22 and named the Most Innovative Hospital by Parents Magazine.
6. Seoul National University Hospital, South Korea
The pediatric and adolescent cancer ward is the first – and top – facility in Korea for the diagnosis and treatment of childhood and teenager cancers. The pediatric oncology hospital also carries out extensive research and clinical trials on the illness.
Expert Oncologists deal with up to 1200 cancers in children and adolescents annually. The hospital has also set up Korea’s first pediatric palliative care team.
Seoul National University Hospital is ranked 1st in the Korea Brand Power Index survey. In 2013 it received the Medical Korea Award from the President of Korea.
7. Hospital Infantil Universitario Niño Jesus, Spain
The Pediatric Haematology & Oncology Unit is one of Spain’s best children’s cancer hospitals. It is the first to carry out complex hematopoietic stem cell transplants in children, being the only GMP facility for cell and gene therapies for children in the country.
In 2020, the hospital launched a new initiative for a clinical trial looking at Celyvir therapy to treat solid tumours in children. This is in partnership with the National Centre for Cancer Research (CNIO).
The hospital has been a national benchmark in pediatric healthcare since it opened in 1877.
8. The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Australia
The Cancer Centre for Children at the Hospital in Westmead is the largest in New South Wales, Australia. It is part of the Sydney Children’s Hospital Network, affiliated with the University of Sydney, and around 150 children are treated for cancer each year.
All types of childhood cancer and leukaemia are diagnosed and treated at the centre for pediatric oncology. An inpatient ward for acute care and treatments include bone marrow transplants, neuro-oncology and psychological support.
The hospital network is recognised for its breakthrough (CAR T-cell infusion) in a rare form of leukaemia.
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