The cure rate for childhood leukemia has reached 80 percent in China, thanks to advanced treatment, experts said at a news conference held by the National Health Commission on Tuesday.
The five-year survival rate for acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a type of blood cancer that accounts for 70 percent of the total, is 90 percent now, up 10 percentage points from 10 years ago, said Zheng Huyong, chief physician of the National Children"s Medical Center.
"About 20 percent of child leukemia cases are more aggressive and prone to relapse," she said, adding that emerging and new treatment methods, including immunization therapy and targeted therapy, can help further boost the overall cure rate.
In China, about 15,000 children and teens under the age of 18 are diagnosed with leukemia each year. A total of 45,000 pediatric leukemia patients are treated annually, according to data released by the commission.
The commission will round out the regulations on diagnosing and treating childhood leukemia, and urge local and regional medical institutions to abide by standard procedures.
"We will form a registration platform to catalogue childhood leukemia cases and build a network to introduce advanced medical resources to local hospitals," said Jiao Yahui, the commission"s deputy head of medical administration and supervision.
The commission also said that the ratio of reimbursement for treating childhood leukemia has increased from 49 percent in February 2017 to 81 percent in September.
Poor households registered with the country"s poverty alleviation authority are allowed to access treatment in advance of payment, easing their financial strain, the commission said.