Childhood cancer a reality
An estimated 440 children are diagnosed with cancer across the world every day, while another 250 have succumbed to it.
According to Kenneth Dollman, whose child was diagnosed with Leukemia, cancer in children is but a fraction of the global cancer burden.
He says for children and their families, hope, courage and determination makes a difference between life and death.
The International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP) and the International Confederation of Childhood Cancer Parent Organisations (ICCCPO) launched a targeted grassroots health advocacy campaign to better educate the public in recognising the early warning signs for childhood cancer on the International Childhood Cancer Day which was celebrated on 15 February.
Dr Gabriele Calaminus, president of SIOP, warned that symptoms of cancer can often be interpreted as common childhood ailments.
Dr Calaminus said parents should look out for symptoms such as white spots in the eye, new squint, blindness, bulging eyeball, lump in: abdomen or pelvis, head and neck, in limbs, testes and glands, unexplained prolonged fever over two weeks, loss of weight, pallor, fatigue, easy bruising or bleeding, aching bones, joints, back, and easy fractures, neurological signs: change or deterioration in walk, balance, or speech, regression of milestones and headache for more than two weeks with or without vomiting and enlarging head.
If these symptoms are persistent, they could be signs of cancer.
Dr Calaminus said that:“It is vital for parents to take their child to a physician or a qualified healthcare provider for further consultation if any of these symptoms persist.”
Meanwhile SIOP and ICCCPO, together with its members from around the world, will be reaching out to communities, schools, hospitals, and the public in general. Parents will also be working alongside paediatric oncologists, paediatricians, nurses, public health advocates and others in disseminating vital information about childhood cancer.