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Stage at diagnosis and survival by stage for the leading childhood cancers in Rwanda

This study examined data from the Rwanda National Cancer Registry for 412 children aged 0 to 14 diagnosed in 2013–2017 for the eight most commonly occurring childhood cancers: acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, Hodgkin lymphoma (HL), Burkitt lymphoma (BL), non-Hodgkin lymphoma excluding BL, retinoblastoma, Wilms tumour, osteosarcoma and rhabdomyosarcoma. Using the Toronto Childhood Cancer Stage Guidelines Tier 1, the study assigned stage at diagnosis to all, except HL, and conducted active follow-ups to calculate 1-, 3- and 5-year observed and relative survival by cancer type and stage at diagnosis. Forty-nine percent of the children (n=202) died within five years of diagnosis, and stage at diagnosis was a strong predictor of length of survival.

The study is only the second to report on stage distribution and stage-specific survival for childhood cancers in sub-Saharan Africa. It demonstrates the feasibility of the Toronto Stage Guidelines in a low-resource setting, and highlights the value of population-based cancer registries in aiding our understanding of the poor outcomes experienced by this population.

Published April 26, 2024

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