Patterns of cancer incidence across the world have undergone substantial changes as a result of industrialisation and economic development. However, the economies of most countries remain at an early or intermediate stage of development-these stages are characterised by poverty, too few health-care providers, weak health systems, and poor access to education, modern technology, and health care because of scattered rural populations. Low-income and middle-income countries also have younger populations and therefore a larger proportion of children with cancer than high-income countries. Most of these children die from the disease. Chronic infections, which remain the most common causes of disease-related death in all except high-income countries, can also be major risk factors for childhood cancer in poorer regions. We discuss childhood cancer in relation to global development and propose strategies that could result in improved survival. Education of the public, more and better-trained health professionals, strengthened cancer services, locally relevant research, regional hospital networks, international collaboration, and health insurance are all essential components of an enhanced model of care.
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