Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

Childhood Cancer: Foundation Sensitises Abuja Residents on Early Detection, Treatment

By Justina Auta

An NGO, Akanimo Cancer Foundation, on Thursday, sensitised Abuja residents on symptoms, early detection and treatment of childhood cancer to improve chances of survival.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the foundation embarked on a walk and sensitisation in Wuse market, Abuja, and some areas to commemorate the 2024 International Childhood Cancer Day (ICCD) with the theme: “Unveiling Challenges.”

Annually marked on Feb. 15 around the world, ICCD is a global collaborative campaign to raise awareness about childhood cancer, and to express support for children and adolescents with cancer, the survivors and their families.

Dr Oyesakin Adewumi, a Paediatrician with the National Hospital Abuja (NHA), said over 50 per cent of the causes of cancer is genetic, while others are due to exposure to smoke, diet, poisonous substances, among others.

Adewumi, therefore, stressed the need for regular medical checkup, early diagnosis and treatment to improve chances of survival for children with cancer and other ailments.

The paediatrician said “the role of early detection cannot be overemphasised, as it enables quick implementation of the right line of treatment; and with that, the survival rate is higher.

“We have children whose cases were detected early and are being cured and are doing so well now.

“The common signs and symptoms are persistent fever, recurrent infection, and a child looking white or pale, bleeding from time to time. When you see recurrent infection, take the child to the hospital.”

Peace Udokamma, one of the foundation’s Volunteer, said “the sensitisation walk is to create awareness, so that parents can take any health challenge complain from their children seriously and seek medical attention.

“Cancer is not juju or village people, it is a disease that needs immediate medical intervention, if not, it will progress aggressively, complicating the health challenge and may lead to death.

“But if medically diagnosed early and treatment given, the child has high chances of survival.”

On her part, Dr Idorenyin Usoh, a member of the foundation, said poor level of awareness on childhood cancer, especially among low income earners, uneducated and people at the community level, prompted the group to embark on the walk.

She said misconceptions and myths surrounding childhood cancer had affected access to treatment and increased mortality caused by cancer disease.

She added that “cancer is very aggressive; it attacks the body and needs urgent medical intervention.

“Government and other stakeholders need to keep creating awareness and include treatment under the health insurance scheme to
enable children have access to healthcare, especially those from poor and vulnerable families.”

She also called for support to people with cancer or organisations that render support to them, saying “the support will reduce pressure off
the parents of such children.”

Usoh said that the foundation was established in memory of her nephew, Akanimo, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2017 at 10 years, but lived
longer due to awareness and access to early diagnosis, treatment and healthcare services.

Mrs Joy Moses, a Trader at Wuse market, Abuja, said the sensitisation has improved her knowledge on cancer and the need for prompt medical intervention for any ailments.

She said “I used to think that children do not suffer from cancer; and that consistent sickness is due to either spiritual or village people.

“But with what I have learnt today, I will always seek medical attention anytime my children fall ill, rather than resort to herbs.”

Meanwhile, NAN reports that the WHO Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer shows more than 1,000 children are diagnosed with cancer daily.

It added that with medical advances however, more than 80 per cent of children diagnosed with cancer survive in high income countries, with
only 20 per cent of children in some low and middle income countries surviving.(NAN

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