11M+ years of healthy life lost due to childhood cancer, study finds

Over 11 million years of healthy life were lost due to childhood cancer globally in 2017, according to a study published July 29 in The Lancet Oncology.

The study's authors used model-based estimates to come up with their findings, since cancer surveillance data is scarce or nonexistent in many countries. The estimates were based on vital registration system data, verbal autopsy data and population-based cancer registry incidence data. Years of healthy life lost were calculated in disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), equal to the sum of years lived with disability plus years of life lost (age of death compared with typical life expectancy).

The study's authors found over 11 million DALYs due to childhood cancer in 2017. Over 97 percent of those years were lost due to years of life lost (as opposed to years lived with disability). Over 82 percent of global childhood cancer DALYs were lost in low, low-middle or middle socio-demographic index locations. 

The model-based estimates show childhood cancer is a substantial global burden that especially affects under-resourced populations, the study's authors wrote.

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