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Oncologist worried about rising cancer cases among children in Ghana

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Pediatrician Oncologist, Dr. Vivian Paintsil, has expressed deep worry about the rising cases of cancer among children.

She did not give any figures but said the number of patients, doctors at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) – the nation’s second largest referral facility, continued to see, was discomforting.

She told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that it was time, sustained public education and awareness campaign on the symptoms and causes, was mounted.

Dr. Paintsil, who heads the Oncology Pediatric Unit of the hospital, complained about the situation where many parents were unaware of the symptoms of the disease.

The result is that they report to the facility late, when treatment of the cancer is difficult – the fatal stage.

“Most of our patients come to the hospital when the cancer has already spread to the entire body and unfortunately, when little could be done to save their lives”, she added.       

She indicated that cancers were curable and that the lives of more children could be saved if reported to the hospitals early.

Dr. Paintsil identified some of the symptoms as persistent sickness, cataract, swellings or lump, persistent pain in the bone, when the child is not a sickle cell patient, and any abnormality in the child’s behavior.

She asked parents to see the doctor when they detected any of these signs in their children.

The commonly seen cases in children include Burkitt’s lymphoma, Wilm’s tumor, brain tumor, retinoblastoma, neuroblastoma and hepatoblastoma and all these could be cured.

She appealed for the inclusion of cancer drugs in the drug list covered by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to give relief to patients from poor homes.  

Source: GNA

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