Impact of dedicated pediatric neuro-oncological services in a developing country: A single-institution, Pakistani experience

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Introduction: Brain tumors are the most common solid neoplasms and the second most common malignancy in the pediatric age group. Due to the complexity of their management, pediatric central nervous system (CNS) tumors are not a priority in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).
Methods: In an attempt to improve the survival rate and overall care, we introduced a dedicated pediatric neuro-oncology service in our institute and evaluated its impact by dividing the pre- and post-era into two cohorts and comparing them: 1998-2013 (16 years: cohort A) and 2014-2019 (6 years: cohort B, after the start of dedicated neuro-oncology services).
Results: We observed that after the implementation of a proper neuro-oncology service, the proportion of patients treated with curative intent increased, and survival improved in cohort B. The patient volume also increased from 15.5 per year in cohort A to 44.8 per year in cohort B. The percentage of children given radiation therapy also increased significantly, while the proportion of children treated with chemotherapy remained stable.
Conclusion: A dedicated multidisciplinary team trained and knowledgeable in the specialty of pediatric neuro-oncology can enhance and improve outcomes, and supportive care and help can provide good quality of life to children and their families with brain neoplasms.


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Publication (Name of Journal)

Pediatric blood & cancer