Photo credit: United Nations

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), cancer is a leading cause of death in children, and at least 300,000 new cases are diagnosed each year among children aged 0-19 years.

The Global body is also worried about the inequity in the treatment of childhood cancer across the world.

For example, 80% of children with the disease in high-income countries will survive, whereas only about 20% of children with cancer will survive in low- and middle-income countries.

Sharing details about the Ghanaian situation on the AM Show on the JoyNews channel, Dr Ernestina Schandorf, a paediatric oncologist at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, stated that only one in five children diagnosed with cancer survive.

She attributes this to late detection, financial constraints and superstitious beliefs associated with cancers.

Being told your child has cancer is devastating for many parents. But, it gets worse when you are told it’s at a late stage and very little can be done about it.

Dr Schandorf says you can use the SILUAN method to help health professionals diagnose early if your child has cancer.

S – Seek early medical help if your child has persistent symptoms.

I – Spots in the eye, squints, and bilging eyeballs

L – Lumps in the limbs, abdomen, neck, and other parts of the body. Dr Schandorf explains these lumps are usually painless but should not be ignored.

U – Unexplained symptoms including headaches, prolonged fever, loss of weight and easy bleeding or bruising.

A – Aches in the joints and easy fractures. Dr Schandorf says you should pay attention to these because children do not usually have joint aches as older people do.

N- change in Neurological signs. These include a change in your child’s handwriting and deterioration in balance or speech.

The most important point here is to seek early medical treatment and not resort to home and so-called herbal remedies for these signs and symptoms.

Remember that childhood cancer is curable.