WASHINGTON, Sept. 5, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Childhood cancer is more prevalent than previously believed, with global estimates of more than 400,000 new cases diagnosed every year, according to new research from St. Jude Children's Hospital and the University of Washington. In an effort to illustrate and explore the scope of the crisis, U.S. News & World Report offers a new project, "Childhood Cancer: Seeking a Better Global Solution," featuring on-the-ground reporting on pediatric cancer in the U.S., Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East.
The results of the months-long effort are all the more relevant given that September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in the U.S. The stories are published with support from the Solutions Journalism Network, a nonprofit in New York City that works with media outlets to examine responses to social problems, as well as highlight regions where countries are struggling to care for their citizens and ones that are successfully saving thousands of young lives:
- The United States: Staff reporter Gaby Galvin explores health care inequality in the U.S. by speaking with families battling childhood cancer in Washington's Yakima Valley. Living three hours from the nearest children's hospital, the area's farmworker families – often low-income, under-educated and with limited English – face great challenges to ensure their critically ill children get the treatment they need. In Seattle, she interviewed providers and care managers at Seattle Children's Hospital who are helping these families navigate the U.S. health care system.
- Asia: Ting Shi, a Hong Kong-based journalist, reported on Shanghai's effort to treat kids with cancer based on new evidence that doing so doesn't just save lives, but is also cost effective, a key issue in middle-income countries like China. Shi also covered a recently opened children's hospital providing centralized care for kids with cancer in Hong Kong.
- Sub-Saharan Africa: Writing from Liberia and Rwanda, veteran journalist Prue Clarke shines a light on the challenges of and opportunities for improving cancer care in developing countries. In partnership with health care workers and international experts, government officials in Rwanda, for instance, are creating a blueprint for how poor, developing countries can treat childhood cancer.
- Middle East: Abby Sewell, a Beirut-based reporter, writes from Lebanon and Jordan on the efforts those countries have taken to treat young refugees fleeing from war who are now battling childhood cancer. Working with local doctors, international organizations and civil organizations, the countries are models for treating young people in conflict zones.
Each of the stories reveals the painful choices families must make to provide care to their children, the risks they face and the obstacles they have to overcome.
"For far too long, children with cancer have died at home because they were misdiagnosed or unable to obtain critical medical treatment," said Steve Sternberg, assistant managing editor for Health Initiatives at U.S. News, who coordinated the project alongside Kevin Drew, assistant managing editor for U.S. News' Best Countries. "U.S. News' exclusive report takes us to places in Africa, the Middle East, China and even the United States, where dedicated health professionals are finding these children, elevating their care and saving young lives."
Through in-depth reporting and photojournalism, the project explores new research from St. Jude Children's Hospital and University of Washington that estimates that cancer disproportionately affects people in poor and middle-income countries, where resources to treat the disease are scarce. U.S. News focused its coverage on nations with different levels of economic wealth.
"Our work found that childhood cancers account for substantial years of healthy life lost globally, and disproportionately impact countries with limited resources," said Dr. Lisa Force, a pediatric oncologist affiliated with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital who led the research in collaboration with the Seattle-based Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
Dr. Nickhill Bhakta of the St. Jude Department of Global Pediatric Medicine added: "By looking at a different metric, disability-adjusted life years, we can now show for the first time that the burden of disease due to childhood cancer is significant and underappreciated in both the cancer and child health communities."
The package also includes commentary from Dr. Douglas Lowy, acting director of the U.S. National Cancer Institute; and from Dr. Carlos Rodriguez-Galindo, executive vice president and chair of St. Jude's Department of Global Pediatric Medicine and director of St. Jude Global. Dr. Lowy notes that medical advances made in the U.S. in treating cancer have a long history of contributing to other countries' health-care treatments. Dr. Rodriguez-Galindo, meanwhile, writes about the collaborations at the local, national and international levels to treat childhood cancer.
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U.S. News & World Report is the global leader in quality rankings that empower people to make better, more informed decisions about important issues affecting their lives. A digital news and information company focused on Education, Health, Money, Travel, Cars and Civic, USNews.com provides consumer advice, rankings and analysis to serve people making complex decisions throughout all stages of life. More than 40 million people visit USNews.com each month for research and guidance. Founded in 1933, U.S. News is headquartered in Washington, D.C.
SOURCE U.S. News & World Report