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About SickKids

October 25, 2018

SickKids scientist Dr. Eric Bouffet addresses UN about childhood cancer on behalf of International Society of Paediatric Oncology

By: Carly Thackray, Intern, Corporate Communications

Dr. Eric Bouffet, Senior Associate Scientist and Oncologist at SickKids and President of the International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP), represented SIOP at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly's side-meeting on childhood cancer on Sept. 28.

The UN meeting, Ensuring a Right to Cure: Global Initiative in Childhood Cancer, brought together key stakeholders to engage on a global childhood cancer initiative to inform, discuss and generate commitments towards reaching goals in childhood cancer.

Bouffet spoke in support of the World Health Organization's (WHO) announcement of its Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer. According to the UN, this initiative aims to bridge gaps in care and cure, and advance outcomes for children with cancer from low-middle versus high-income countries. It also partners national and international stakeholders, such as SIOP, a global multidisciplinary society dedicated to increasing knowledge of paediatric and adolescent cancer, Childhood Cancer International (CCI), an international patient support organization for childhood cancer, and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Dr. Eric Bouffet delivering his speech at the UN meeting on Sept. 28.

Currently, SIOP is made up of nearly 2,000 members, paediatric oncologists, paediatric surgeons, radiation oncologists, nurses and other medical professionals, in 110 countries, explained Bouffet.

"In this context, SIOP members are going to be the global, intellectual capital of this project…," said Bouffet in his speech at the UN. "And I'm delighted to express our support to this project on behalf of the SIOP community."

A key part of the global initiative aims to provide leadership and technical assistance to support governments in building and sustaining high-quality childhood cancer programs, according to SIOP.

"Every other day, 1,000 children are diagnosed with cancer. In fact, half of them are not even diagnosed. They don't make it to the diagnosis. They die without a diagnosis," explained Bouffet. "We are delighted to see that with your support, this is going to change."

Bouffet acknowledged that, currently, 200,000 children per year get cancer. The WHO Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer has an objective to achieve at least 60 per cent survival for all children with cancer by 2030.

Bouffet expressed his feelings about the UN meeting and what it means for children with cancer: "It's a dream come true."

Watch Bouffet's speech at the UN, beginning at 1:10:43, here.