It’s something no parent wants to think about – their child getting cancer – or having it for that matter. It’s even worse losing a child to childhood cancer when you didn’t even know that they were sick.
Between 800 to 1000 South African Children are diagnosed with cancer every year – the worst part, however, is that it’s estimated that half of kids with cancer in South Africa are never diagnosed. This is because there’s a lack of knowledge regarding the disease and how it presents in children. As a result, many children are diagnosed too late diminishing the possibility of successful treatment.
According to the South African Medical Journal the overall survival rates for childhood cancer in South Africa is very low compared to international data. Many childhood cancers are treatable with success rates of between 70 – 80% in well-resourced countries while the overall survival rate for South Africa is only at 52.1%.
In South Africa, we should be diagnosing around 2 500 children every year, but only about 1 500 kids are diagnosed. Of the less than half of childhood cancers that are actually detected and diagnosed, the survival rate is as low as 55%. This means that in South Africa every year, less than half of the children who are diagnosed will survive.
Childhood Cancer Foundation SA (CHOC), through its training and awareness programme aims to improve childhood cancer survival rates by creating awareness of the early warning signs of childhood cancer.
Look out for these early warning signs and symptoms of childhood cancer:
Print this chart out and keep it on your fridge or in your handbag for a quick and easy reference. While most of these symptoms are more likely to be caused by an injury or an infection, it’s best to get your little one checked out right away.
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