Childhood cancer cases are on the rise in Iran, a recent study has found, with between 2,500 and 3,000 children under 15 being diagnosed with cancer every year. But as cases rise on an annual basis, the Ministry of Health is failing to provide official and accurate figures on the crisis.
“It is not possible to find out by how much the cancer figures in the country have increased every year, because there are few statistics from the past,” Hassan Abolghasemi, the chair of the Blood and Cancer Association of Iran, told the website Rokna on December 3. “When there are figures available, they are not accurate."
The association’s research found that the most common cancer among children in Iran is leukemia, followed by brain cancer.
"The cause of childhood cancers is mainly not hereditary,” Abolghasemi said. “The most common cause is modifications in genes that occur at different times before and after sperm formation."
Abolghasemi says that, despite Iran having at least 150 specialists working in the field of pediatric cancer and the support of charities as well as government assistance, children diagnosed with cancer are not receiving the help they need and improvement in their health “had not yet reached the desired level."
The cancer association study based its research on the latest national data on cancer registration in relation to the total population of the country.
The research also forecast that the number of new cancer cases will increase from 112,000 registered cases (excluding skin cancer) in 2016 to 160,000 predicted cases in 2025, representing an increase of 43 percent over a decade.