The War You Don’t See


The War You Don’t See: Childhood Cancer in Ukraine

Ukraine has one of the highest rates in Europe in terms of children who are diagnosed with cancer. Chornobyl’s Nuclear disasters have had a devastating impact on long-term Ukrainian health: the local population continued to experience the effects for decades. The radiation emitted by nuclear waste has led to an increase in cancer rates among children.

Today, the situation for oncologic children in Ukraine has been further exacerbated by the Russian invasion. Many hospitals have been damaged or destroyed, and those that are still standing are often overcrowded and understaffed. The conflict has also caused significant disruptions to supply chains, making it challenging to obtain essential medications and equipment needed for cancer treatments. As a result, many oncologic children have been left without proper care or have had to endure long waits for treatment, which can be life-threatening.

Another challenge concerns the family dynamics, where often the mothers and women of the family take on the responsibility of caring for the sick child, while fathers are engaged in frontline combat or military operations.

This work has been made possible by the continuous efforts of Soleterre, an NGO with a two-decade commitment to supporting oncology patients in Ukraine. All the images have been captured in collaboration with the families and the organization.