SINGAPORE: Eight-year-old Emma and Xander, 12, were diagnosed with different forms of cancer in 2015. While Xander has completed his chemotherapy and is preparing to go back to school in a few months, Emma is still undergoing the intensive phase of her chemotherapy. Despite the challenges they have been through, the bright-eyed duo have a message for other cancer patients: To never give up.
Every year, 250,000 adolescents below the age of 20 around the world are diagnosed with cancer. While the bulk of these cases occur in developing countries, childhood cancer is the leading non-communicable disease (NCD) cause of death in developed countries. In Singapore, it is the second major cause of death among children.
There were between 180 to 200 childhood cancer cases here in 2015 - a figure that has remained fairly constant over the years, according to Associate Professor Quah Thuan Chong, Head and Senior Consultant of the Division of Paediatric Haematology and Oncology, National University Hospital.