Second National Childhood Cancer Conference - 2020 - News - Current - Kinderkrebsschweiz

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Second National Childhood Cancer Conference

The second National Childhood Cancer Conference will take place in Bern on 15 February 2020 parallel to International Childhood Cancer Day. The conference, organised by Childhood Cancer Switzerland, is aimed at affected families and survivors to inform them about the late effects of the disease and the current situation of follow-up care in Switzerland.

Every year, around 300 children and adolescents are diagnosed with cancer in Switzerland. Thanks to medical advances, four out of five survive nowadays, but the price of survival is high. About 80 per cent of those affected are at risk of suffering from the late effects of the disease and therapy in adulthood. Whereas in the past the focus was on healing and survival, today it is increasingly also on questions of the quality of life after intensive therapy. Long-term follow-up care after childhood and adolescent cancer is therefore essential. It serves to detect and treat any late effects of cancer treatment at an early stage. Due to a lack of uniform and personalised follow-up care, former childhood cancer patients and their families are often not sufficiently informed about the risks, which can often occur decades after a cancer illness. The consequences are uncertainty, lack of health checks and poorer chances of recovery if health problems are detected too late. In addition, there are many challenges when it comes to school and career prospects or the desire to have children. The second National Childhood Cancer Conference addresses these important topics.

After cancer: insights into current research studies and networking opportunities 

In order to create a forum where those affected can obtain information and also discuss the current situation in Switzerland with specialists, this year’s Childhood Cancer Conference will focus on the topic of late effects and follow-up care. At the conference organised by Childhood Cancer Switzerland, experts from paediatric oncology, reproductive medicine and social law will provide important insights into their specialist areas. The topic of fertility and family planning will be addressed as well as the long-term psychosocial consequences of childhood cancer and legal aspects after cancer. In addition, workshops aimed exclusively at survivors and affected parents offer a unique opportunity to discuss personal and in-depth questions.

“The conference offers time and space for parents, survivors and the treatment team as well as our member organisations to exchange ideas and network with each other,” says Birgitta Setz, Co-CEO of Childhood Cancer Switzerland. The National Childhood Cancer Conference 2020 will take place in cooperation with the member organisations of Childhood Cancer Switzerland.

Five years of the umbrella organisation Childhood Cancer Switzerland

At the same time as this year’s childhood cancer conference, Childhood Cancer Switzerland is celebrating its fifth anniversary. The umbrella organisation was founded on 15 February 2015 by the most important childhood cancer organisations. The focus of its activities is to support children with cancer and their parents in their fight against the disease and its late effects. Together with its member organisations, Childhood Cancer Switzerland works to improve support for families, optimise treatment options, and develop accessible therapies and medicines for everyone affected. This also includes the extension of systematic and comprehensive follow-up care for former childhood cancer patients, for which Childhood Cancer Switzerland has created its own contact point that informs, advises and networks survivors.

The general public still knows very little about childhood cancer. “Our task is also to create the necessary awareness for the situation of those affected and to campaign for their rights at federal level. Parents should, for example, be able to support their child after receiving the diagnosis without having the fear of losing their job or having to give up their livelihood. That is why we have successfully campaigned for paid caregiver leave with job protection for parents of seriously ill children,” says Valérie Braidi-Ketter, Co-CEO of Childhood Cancer Switzerland.

International Childhood Cancer Day 

The International Childhood Cancer Day (ICCD) was launched in 2002 by the organisation Childhood Cancer International (CCI) to raise awareness of children and adolescents with cancer and their families. CCI’s goals are to share information and experiences among parent organisations around the world and with all other stakeholders in the treatment and care of children with cancer to ensure the best possible access to treatment and care for children with cancer all over the world.