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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 452-456

Pediatric central nervous system cancers in the democratic People's Republic of Korea

1 Department of Translational Medicine, Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, Florida International University, Miami, Florida, USA
2 Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
3 Department of Neurosurgery, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, USA
4 Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Correspondence Address:
Sunwoo Park
4th Year Medical Student, 737 SW 109th Avenue #605, Miami, Florida 33174
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ajns.AJNS_76_21

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Purpose: Central nervous system (CNS) cancers rank as the most frequent solid tumors and the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in children and adolescents. There is less information available about pediatric brain and CNS tumors in low-income and middle-income countries, suggesting a lack of surgical accessibility or limited capacity to treat these conditions. In this study, we chose to study the epidemiology of CNS cancers in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). Methods: We extracted the prevalence, incidence, deaths, and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) associated with CNS cancers in individuals under the age of 20 from the 2017 Global Burden of Disease study from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. DALYs, which signify the number of healthy life years lost due to ill health, disability, or early death. Economic impact was calculated from DALYs. Conclusions: Given the large burden of brain and CNS cancers among all pediatric cancers in the DPRK, scaling up and strengthening surgical services for children is an essential component to improving care of pediatric CNS cancers in the DPRK. Childhood cancers are time sensitive, and early diagnosis and treatment are vital in ensuring improved survival for the vulnerable pediatric cancer patient population. As surgical treatment can often prolong lives and even prevent premature deaths from these cancers, further analysis of current surgical capacity can inform the path to meeting these critical pediatric surgical needs.

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