Childhood cancer early detection can save a young life

By Drum Digital
15 February 2017

Today is International Childhood Cancer Day, here are tips on how to detect it and save you child's live.

Today is International Childhood Cancer Day and much effort is being made to raise awareness about it.

According to CHOC (Childhood Cancer Foundation South Africa), it’s estimated that 406 children worldwide will be diagnosed with cancer before the age of 15. With early detection and treatment, the survival rate of children in developed countries can be between 70 % and 80 %.  However, in South Africa the survival rate is only about 50 %.

According to the most recent South African Children’s Cancer Study Group, the five most common childhood cancers in South Africa are leukaemia, followed by lymphoma (tumours that begin in the lymph glands), brain tumours, Wilms tumours (cancer of the kidneys) and soft tissue sarcomas, which are tumours that begin in the connective tissue.

CHOC says childhood cancers require specialist paediatric treatment by a paediatric oncologist, comprising of chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, or a combination of these treatments. In some cases, bone marrow or stem-cell transplantation is necessary.

CHOC also says childhood cancers tend to respond better to treatments such as chemotherapy and children’s bodies tend to cope better with chemotherapy than adults’ bodies.

Parents are given these tips for early detection:

White spots in the eye, new squint, new blindness and bulging eyeballs.

A lump in the abdomen, pelvis, neck, head, limbs, testes and glands.

Aching bones, joints, back and easy fractures

Change or deterioration in walk, balance or speech, headache for more than a week (with or without vomiting) and enlarged head.

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