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Responding to South Africa’s Childhood Cancer Challenges

       Prof Alan Davidson

Project ended 30 June 2021

Prof Alan Davidson

Title of the project

Responding to South Africa’s childhood cancer challenges: An in depth description of the epidemiology of paediatric cancer in the RCCH/GSH/UCT complex.

This project aims to describe in detail the epidemiology of childhood cancer occurring in the University of Cape Town complex of hospitals, Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and Groote Schuur Hospital. Using the internationally accepted cutoff of 15 years, after which patients are considered adolescent and young adult sufferers, we plan to capture diagnosis, staging information, pathology, assigned treatment and outcome prospectively, and maintain these patient records in real time.

New oncology patients under 15 years of age diagnosed at or with a primary referral to the RCCH/GSH/UCT complex will be invited to participate. A trained research nurse will obtained informed consent from the parent/guardian and collected relevant data using a structured questionnaire. The research nurse will capture all data electronically using a tablet computer and custom designed case report forms, and then update records in real time through the course of their management.

Data will be entered into a RedCap Database and analyzed using STATA. Descriptive statistics (means, medians, proportions) will be used to characterise the variables. Crude bivariate comparisons will be used to identify factors associated with stage at presentation, progression and clinical outcomes. Logistic regression will be used to evaluate the independent influence of covariates on dependent variables. Survival will be expressed using Kaplan-Meier curves, and curves for different groups will be compared using the Log-Rank test.

Through this project locally relevant paediatric cancer issues will be identified; information will be generated that will influence local and international clinical guidelines and policies and build national and international research collaborations.

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