Promoting Early Detection of Childhood Cancer and CANSA Support
11 February 2019 – CANSA joins Childhood Cancer International, founders of International Childhood Cancer Day, celebrated globally on 15 February. They aim to raise awareness of working towards lowering childhood cancer deaths, pain and suffering and supporting the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Childhood Cancer Target Goals.
Says Gerda Strauss, CANSA’s Head of Service Delivery, “Our Tough Living with Cancer (TLC) programme educates all on the symptoms of childhood cancer. If detected early, most children can be treated successfully. The quicker a child is diagnosed correctly, the better his or her chance of survival. An average of 800 to 1000 children are newly diagnosed with cancer annually in SA – however, it’s estimated that at least two thirds of these children never reach a specialist treatment centre and that the majority of those that do, are unfortunately in the advanced stages of their illness. Childhood cancers share general symptoms with other illnesses, which can result in a misdiagnosis. Parents and guardians should take note if one or more symptoms persist, as medical assistance should then be sought immediately.”
In September 2018, at the United Nations General Assembly, WHO announced its new global initiative to address the inequality between childhood cancer survivals in low-middle versus high-income countries. Approximately 8 in 10 of the 300 000 children (birth to 19 yrs) diagnosed annually, live in low and middle-income countries, where their survival rate is often near 20%. However, it’s estimated that half of the children with cancer in South Africa, are never diagnosed. According to the South African Medical Journal¹ the overall survival rates for childhood cancer in South Africa remain low, when compared to international data. Greater awareness of the warning signs of childhood cancer can encourage earlier diagnosis and lead to improved outcomes.
“It’s vital that childhood cancer patients be referred to a Paediatric Oncology Specialist for treatment, as an incorrect diagnosis, or treatment, can allow the cancer time to build up resistance. Furthermore, children and their loved ones need emotional and psychological support and practical assistance. CANSA TLC shares cancer related information; offers counselling, support groups, assistance with prostheses, ports, broviacs, medical equipment, hospital / ward support programmes, food & basic essential parcels to families in need and accommodation for parents (guardians) near treatment centres at TLC Lodges (Polokwane, Pretoria and Durban). CANSA TLC also supports the child who has a parent or sibling that has been diagnosed with cancer who sometimes, has become a caregiver. Parents or guardians needing support are encouraged to contact their local CANSA Care Centre and can also join the CANSA TLC Childhood Cancer Support Group on Facebook, where they can connect with others in a similar position. Visit our website for more information.” adds Strauss.
For more information, please contact Lucy Balona, Head: Marketing and Communication at CANSA at email email@example.com. Call 011 616 7662 or mobile 082 459 5230.
CANSA offers a unique integrated service to the public and to all people affected by cancer. CANSA is a leading role-player in cancer research (more than R12 million spent annually) and the scientific findings and knowledge gained from our research are used to realign our health programmes, as well as strengthen our watchdog role to the greater benefit of the public.
Our health programmes comprise health and education campaigns; CANSA Care Centres that offer a wide range of care and support services to those affected by cancer; stoma and other clinical support and organisational management; medical equipment hire, as well as a toll-free line to offer information and support.
We also supply patient care and support in the form of 11 CANSA Care Homes in the main metropolitan areas for out-of-town cancer patients; a Wellness Centre based in Polokwane; and CANSA-TLC lodging for parents and guardians of children undergoing cancer treatment.
Visit www.cansa.org.za or contact the nearest CANSA Care Centre, call CANSA toll-free 0800 22 66 22 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition to online resources and Facebook support groups, CANSA offers multi-lingual support on WhatsApp: 072 197 9305 for English and Afrikaans, and 071 867 3530 for Xhosa, Zulu, Sotho and Siswati.