KARACHI - International Childhood Cancer Day was observed on Sunday in the metropolis, following the project of international community to spread awareness regarding the disease, as around 80 per cent of children with cancer exist in developing nations. About half of them will die because they lack access to prompt and effective treatment. However, very fewer awareness programmes were organised in the City in this connection, which was observed with the theme of 'Today's children, tomorrow's world'. Cancer, a general term for at least 200 different diseases, is one of the leading causes of death around the world, quoted US Department of State's website as saying. According to foreign medical organisations, "The aim of the Day is to help children with cancer get the best possible treatment and care, no matter where they live in the world, by raising both awareness and money. Worldwide there are currently 200,000 children diagnosed with cancer. In developed nations like the UK, 7 out of 10 children are now expected to survive cancer due to continued research into its causes and the development of treatments. Cancer is projected to become the leading cause of death worldwide by 2010." Around 84 million people may die of cancer between 2005 and 2015. Some of the risks of cancer include - ageing, family history, tobacco and alcohol abuse, obesity, lack of physical exercise and poor diet. The obesity rate is also witnessing an upward trend among adults and children worldwide. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), nearly 1 billion adults worldwide are overweight. The International Obesity Taskforce estimates that one in 10 school going children are overweight and 30-45 million children between the age group of 5-17 are obese. Obesity and overweight are known to elevate cancer risks in adults. The responsibility of raising healthy children rests with parents and to an extent with the school, which can play a crucial role in imparting awareness about healthy diet and adequate physical exercise. Foreign health experts have chalked out some essential tips for parents and schools for raising healthy kids in connection with the fatality of the disease. * Inculcate physical activity in children at a young age; parents must also set an example by adopting an active lifestyle. * Restrict the number of hours spent on sedentary pursuits like computer games and television; instead encourage children to devote their leisure time for physical activity. * Let children consume a variety of foods as the body needs 40 different kinds of vitamins and minerals each day. * Ensure children eat healthy- include a variety of fruits, fresh vegetables in the diet everyday, at least five servings each day. * Say 'No' to saturated fat. * Encourage children to drink plenty of fluids. * Importantly, serve them an energising breakfast with adequate carbohydrates, milk, and protein in the form of lean meat, beans, nuts and whole grains. One of the considerable programmes regarding the said issue was held by the Children Cancer Hospital, Karachi. The hospital conducted a childhood cancer awareness seminar with the theme of "Cancer is curable in children". The event was organised to mark the International Cancer Day which is observed on February 14. The seminar was jointly organised by Children Cancer Foundation Trust Pakistan and Pakistan Paediatric Association (Sindh), Children Cancer Hospital (CCH), Karachi. Doctors, patients and their parents and people from all walks of life participated in the seminar. Consultant paediatric oncologist Dr M Shamvil Ashraf (also the CEO of the CCH) emphasised the need of childhood cancer awareness in addition to the facts and figures relating to children suffering from cancer in Pakistan and the need for specialised care for such patients. He also stressed on the initiation of parent support groups so as to provide the much-needed psychological support to cancer victims. Dr Ahmed Naqvi explained in detail the early signs and symptoms of cancer in children and emphasised on the need of early diagnosis which would help save their precious lives. Humaira Alvi narrated her daughter's fight with cancer and asked parents of cancer victims to face this deadly enemy with courage and hope. Cancer is highly curable in children and that parents should rely on the Almighty and their doctors. Dr Khalid Zubairi of Pakistan Paediatric Association Sindh and Dr Samrina Hashmi, General Secretary Pakistan Medical Association, also addressed the gathering and promised maximum support from their associations with regard to childhood cancer awareness. There is no shortcut to health and it is the government's duty to provide health services inclusive of childhood cancer. Prof Nizam-ul-Hasan was the chief guest who explained the progress of paediatric oncology in Karachi from 1970s to date. He also emphasised the need of childhood cancer awareness amongst general public and medical personnel. Professor DS Akram emphasised on the role of media in enhancing general public awareness regarding childhood cancer. The seminar was coordinated by Dr Summaiya Syed Tariq.