GOLD September is an annual campaign held worldwide to raise awareness of childhood cancer.
Many advances have been made in pediatric oncology, but cancer remains a leading cause of death in children.
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It is imperative that children are diagnosed early for effective treatment of early stage disease, which will translate into beneficial outcomes and better overall survival.
Many factors are responsible for childhood cancer delays, including the age of the child, the socioeconomic status of the family, the education level of the parents, distance between residence and hospital, type of cancer, location and stage.
Many children in low- and middle-income countries have poor access to hospitals, which in turn lack essential diagnostic tests, a shortage of nursing medical and surgical staff, an inadequate and erratic supply of pharmaceutical and chemotherapeutic agents, and an absence of radiotherapy. , surgical and intensive care facilities.
These are just some of the factors that contribute to patients presenting with advanced disease and resulting poorer outcomes.
That’s why the community is encouraged this month to be a voice of hope and work with health professionals, nonprofits and the Ministry of Health to spread the Siluan warning signs for early cancer diagnosis.
The Siluan Warning Signs of Childhood Cancer have been adopted by the South African Children’s Cancer Study Group and the National Branch of
Health to promote early detection.
This could potentially save the life of a child or teenager. If you are concerned that your child has cancer, you can refer your child or teen here: https://choc.org.za/choc-patient-referral-pathways/
It is imperative to focus on non-communicable diseases such as childhood cancer and identify these diseases early, have access to appropriate diagnostics and therapies, and ensure the availability of supportive care to improve the overall survival of our children with improve cancer.
The burden of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is further testing Africa’s fragile health care systems.
Many caregivers are out of work due to the national lockdown, there are insufficient transportation systems and caregivers are afraid to step out of the safety of their homes to seek healthcare as the ever-present danger of contracting Covid-19 lurks.
Unfortunately, during the global SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, we may experience even more delays in cancer diagnosis and treatment.
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