Childhood Cancer Awareness with a difference…..

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On September 2nd, Women in Action cancer supporters joined hands with the UCKG Biblical School for Children and the TFTeens in bringing cancer awareness to the teachers/counsellors taking care of children ranging in ages from 2 – 14 who join their parents in coming to the church.

The presentation focused on the different cancers prevalent in children and the signs and symptoms that accompanies them. The teachers were made aware that though some of these signs and symptoms can be passed off as normal childhood diseases,  a prolonged symptom is not to be ignored and should be acted upon immediately by bringing the matter to the pastor in charge or the pastor’s wife at once.

We know that a cancer diagnosis can be pretty upsetting at any age, especially when the patient is a child, however, there is comfort in knowing that there is treatment available upon early detection.

The information, which was presented to the audience of teachers, was gathered from various sources. Anyone wishing to know more can do their own research in expanding their knowledge of the disease.

According to the most recent South African Children’s Cancer Study Group (SACCSG) registry statistics for 2009 to 2013, the five most common childhood cancers in South Africa are: leukemia, followed by lymphoma (tumours that begin in the lymph glands), then brain tumours, nephroblastomas or wilms tumours (cancer of the kidneys) and then soft tissue sarcomas, which are tumours that begin in the connective tissues.

Many times the signs and symptoms are evident but go unnoticed because of under diagnosis, especially in rural and smaller hospitals. Another factor is that most medical personnel are not equipped with the ability to give a cancer diagnosis as this can only be done by a Pediatric Oncologist. Often there is late presentation by the parent/guardian of the child resulting in an unsatisfactory or unfavourable outcome.

Early detection saves lives, whether it’s in an adult or a child. The information presented to the teachers/counsellors was taken from the following websites:

CHOC (Childhood Cancer Foundation South Africa) – www.choc.org.za

American Cancer Society – www.cancer.org/cancer.html

National Cancer Society – www.cancer.gov/about-cancer

South African Children’s Cancer Study Group – www.saccsg.co.za

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