• Where We Work: El Salvador

    El Salvador map
    • City: El Salvador
    • Type of program: Research
    • Partners:
      1. Hospital Nacional de Niños Benjamin Bloom
      2. Fundación Ayúdame a Vivir
      3. St. Baldrick’s Foundation

    Research Program

    • Program title: Development of a childhood cancer epidemiology initiative in Central America and building the first pediatric national cancer registry in El Salvador
    • Start date: 7/1/2013

    El Salvador patientOne of the main limitations in advancing our understanding of childhood cancer is our limited knowledge of its causes. The differences in the incidence of cancer among children around the globe are very intriguing; it is possible that the interaction of environment, genetics, socioeconomic conditions, and ethnic factors influence the occurrence of cancer in some areas. In this regard, research on the epidemiology of childhood cancer in Central America can open the door to the study of potential causes. Cancer information in Central America is scarce (there is only one population-based cancer registry in Costa Rica). In addition, there are few researchers in Central America with expertise in childhood cancer epidemiology. Through the St. Baldrick’s International Scholar Award, the GHI has been working with Dr. Soad Fuentes and her team in El Salvador to establish the first national population-based pediatric cancer registry in El Salvador and create a childhood cancer epidemiology consortium in Central America.

    About cancer registries: Population-based cancer registries serve principally two purposes. The primary purpose is to provide the data for planning and evaluation of cancer control and treatment. Cancer registration allows health policy-makers to assess and address inequalities in prevention, access and care within and between countries according to factors such as ethnicity, occupation, socioeconomic status. Cancer registration is also used to assess the impact of interventions designed to promote early diagnosis, such as screening or provider education. The second purpose of cancer registration is to serve as the basis for epidemiological studies. For instance, using the limited data currently available, variations in incidence of pediatric cancer appear to be quite significant if one examines incidence rates in low- and middle-income countries versus high-income countries. The development of a population-based cancer registry is a critical step in the evolution of pediatric cancer care and evaluation in Central America and will directly inform the allocation of health resources and advance clinical, epidemiological, and health services research.

    Learn more: Read the Dana-Farber Insight blog post – Salvadoran Doctor Sets Sights on Changing Pediatric Oncology in Her Country

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