‘Early detection of childhood cancers provides great chances of survival’

Social Cancer Childhood
Social Cancer Childhood

Mr Kwame Owusu Aduomi, a Pediatric Oncology Nurse at the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital, said childhood cancer was 80 per cent curable when detected early unlike adult cancers.

Parents should not see childhood cancer as a death sentence, spiritual illness or witchcraft related but seek medical attention promptly to ensure better chances of survival, he added.

Cancer begins with genetic change in single cells that grow into a mass (or tumor), invades other part of the body and causes harm and death if left untreated.

Mr Owusu-Aduomi made the appeal at a durbar to climax this year’s Childhood Cancer Month to create awareness on the need to support children with cancer and ensure their survival.

The durbar, organised by the CCTH Child Health Sub-Bone Marrow Concentrate (BMC) Unit, in collaboration with World Child Cancer, was on the theme: “Better Survival is Achievable.”

Mr Owusu Aduomi, stated that globally, about 300,000 cases of cancer were recorded annually whereas in Ghana one out of every 500 children may develop cancer by age 15 with survival rate of 20 to 30 per cent.

He identified myths and misconceptions on childhood cancer as the major cause of death adding that the earlier it is detected the earlier it will be treated with high chances of survival.

He advised parents to immediately report persistent symptoms like white spot in the eye, bulging eyeball, lump in the abdomen and pelvis, on the head, neck, and testis.

He told them to report unexplained prolonged fever lasting more than two weeks, loss of weight, pallor, fatigue, ache in bones, joints, back and easy fractures as well as headaches for more than a month.

Though the cause of childhood cancer had not been established, there are a host of unreported childhood cancers killing children without their parents’ knowledge, hence the need for vigorous education on the disease.

On challenges in the survival rate, he mentioned late detection of cancer, difficulties in accessing care, high treatment abandonment rate, and family and friends influence, among others.

Mrs Jane Williams, the Founder of Vivat Turkson Foundation, who lost her daughter to cancer, called on all to be ambassadors of childhood cancer to create the awareness to save the lives of children.

Mr Williams Akachi, father of a five-year old cancer survivor, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, expressed the trauma, emotional and psychological stress he went through taking the child through the treatment.

“Traveling all the way from Half Assini in the Western Region to Cape Coast every week to treat my daughter was very frustrating and stressful but I sailed through and I thank God for that,” he said.

He expressed gratitude to the staff and management of CCTH for the support, guidance, advice and assistance throughout the process.

Dr Eric Kofi Ngedu, the Chief Executive Officer of the CCTH, expressed appreciation to the Government for the immense support to improve quality healthcare service delivery in the country.

He applauded the Ministry of Health for including four childhood cancer treatments in the National Health Insurance Scheme.

These are leukemia, Retinoblastoma, lymphoma, and cancer of the kidney.

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