Cancer can strike at any age

2015-07-30 06:00
PHOTO: precious gumede

Zanele Mzobe and her son

PHOTO: precious gumede Zanele Mzobe and her son

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LEUKAEMIA, also referred to as blood cancer, is a type of cancer found in your blood and bone marrow, caused by the rapid production of abnormal white blood cells. The high number of abnormal white blood cells are not able to fight infection, and impair the ability of the bone marrow to produce red blood cells and platelets.

A parent from KwaNositha said she would like to create awareness in the community and share her journey with this disease.

Zanele Mzobe’s four-year-old son has been living with leukaemia for over two years.

“I would like to create awareness in the community that cancer is around - it does not matter what age one is,” said Mzobe.

The boy was diagnosed with leukaemia when he was two and has been on treatment since then and Mzobe stopped working to take care of him.

“Taking care of any sick child is never easy as a parent, let alone an unemployed parent,” said Mzobe.

She said at first she thought her child was one of those children who suffered from a fever every two weeks.

Mzobe was lucky that her son’s condition was detected early (stage two) and she could start him on treatment.

“As a child my son was very sick. I used to take him to the clinic and to doctors because every two weeks he would get a fever, until one day he got so sick I had to take him to a specialist who ran some tests and discovered he had genetic blood cancer.”

The common symptoms of chronic or acute leukaemia may include pain in the bones or joints, swollen lymph nodes that usually don’t hurt, fevers or night sweats, feeling weak or tired, bleeding and bruising easily, frequent infections,discomfort or swelling in the abdomen,weight loss or loss of appetite.

Mzobe encourages parents to regularly check their childrenand#039;s temperature as it is also one of the very common symptoms of blood cancer.

Living in a community where people stereo-typically think that every disease is contagious, Mzobe thought educating the community about the facts of her son’s disease would help many others faced with the situation.

According to Cansa South Africa and other researchers, blood cancer is not contagious or infectious and can be treated if detected early.

Recent studies show that childhood cancers are caused by genetic and environmental factors.

Mzobe said she thought that cancer was common only in old people and did not understand how her young child could become a victim of the disease.

“The doctor then explained to me that its not the end of the world - my son will live - he just has to start treatment,” she said.

Mzobe said its difficult to keep her child bacteria-free and free from infection as he loves to play with other children.

“As much as I make sure we live a hygienic lifestyle its difficult to keep him indoors away from other children. I tried finding a suitable school for him, but I have failed.” said Mzobe

She is grateful that she is getting the support she needs as a parent and for her child through Cansa.

Mzobe advises parents whose child has the same symptoms to consult a doctor

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