Aim: The Lao-Korea National Children's Hospital initiated and developed a pediatric cancer treatment program for the first time in September 2012, through education by the Lee Jong-Wook project, establishment of infrastructure by the Korea International Cooperation Agency, and cooperation of medical staff.
Material and methods: we describe the experience of initiating and building this program by retrospectively reviewing the data from pediatric patients with cancer diagnosed at the Lao-Korea National Children's Hospital between September 2012 and December 2016.
Results: A total of 78 patients diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) (n = 44), acute myeloid leukemia (AML) (n = 12), chronic myeloid leukemia (n = 7), lymphoma (n = 6), retinoblastoma (n = 5), Wilms tumor (n = 3), and germ cell tumor (n = 1) were included. Of the 44 patients with ALL, 40 received induction chemotherapy, and 4 refused chemotherapy. Of these 40 patients, 29 (73.6%) achieved complete remission (CR) and 9 (22.5%) died during chemotherapy. Of the 29 patients with CR, 4 completed the chemotherapy, 19 were still on chemotherapy, 4 relapsed, and 2 were deceased. Treatment was unsuccessful for all 12 patients with AML.
Conclusion: We successfully initiated the pediatric cancer care program but faced challenges associated with high mortality because of insufficient resources. We should continue our efforts to find more abandoned patients, detect cancer earlier, and reduce the overall associated mortality.
Keywords: Cancer control; leukemia & lymphoma; pediatric oncology.