Home Lifestyle & Travel Health & Beauty Early detection can save a child’s life

Early detection can save a child’s life

Be a voice of hope this month by helping CHOC spread awareness about the early warning signs which could potentially save the life of a child or teen.

Gold September is an annual campaign worldwide to raise awareness of childhood cancer. There are many advances in paediatric oncology, yet cancer remains a leading cause of mortality in children.

Children must be diagnosed early for effective treatment of early-stage disease, which will translate into favourable outcomes and improved overall survival.

Many factors are responsible for delays in childhood cancer, including the child’s age, family’s socioeconomic status, parental educational level, distance of residence from the hospital, cancer type, size, and stage.

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Many children in low- and middle-income countries have poor access to hospitals, which in turn lack essential diagnostic tests, experience a shortage of nursing medical and surgical personnel, inadequate and erratic supply of basic pharmaceutical and chemotherapeutic agents, and an absence of radiotherapy, surgical and intensive care facilities. These are but some of the factors which contribute to patients presenting with advanced disease and resultant poorer outcomes.

As neonatal, infant and child health improves in South Africa, communicable diseases, such as respiratory and diarrhoeal diseases, HIV-AIDS, and tuberculosis, are better controlled. It is imperative to focus on non-communicable diseases such as childhood cancer and identify these diseases early, have access to the correct diagnostics and therapeutics and ensure the availability of supportive care to improve the overall survival of children with cancer.

St Siluan’s warning signs of childhood cancer:

S – Seek medical help early for ongoing symptoms

I – White spot in the eye, new squint, sudden blindness or bulging eyeball

– Lump on the stomach, pelvis, head, arms, legs, testicle or glands

U – Unexplained fever present for over two weeks, weight loss, fatigue, pale appearance, easy bruising and bleeding

A – Aching bones, joints, back and easy fractures

– Neurological signs, a change in walk, balance or speech, regression, continuous headaches with/ without vomiting and enlarged head

The Siluan Warning Signs for childhood cancer were adopted by the South African Children’s Cancer Study Group and the national Department of Health to promote early detection. Be a voice of hope this September and collaborate with health care workers, non-profit organisations, and the Department of Health to spread the Siluan Warning Signs for early cancer diagnosis. This could possibly save the life of a child or teenager.

If you are concerned your child may have cancer, click here or phone the CHOC helpline on 0800 333 555.

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