MWAPE MWENYA, Lusaka
THE number of parents abandoning their children undergoing treatment at the Cancer Diseases Hospital (CDH) has reduced from 45 percent to three percent, head paediatrician Oncology doctor Pauline Sambo has said.
Dr Sambo attributed the reduction to improved care and services the hospital is providing to children and their families.
She said in an interview that the common cancers in children are lymphoma, kidney cancer, cancer of the eyes and leukaemia, and has advised parents to seek early diagnosis and treatment for cancer diseases in children.
Dr Sambo said currently there are 55 children undergoing various types of cancer diseases at the paediatric wing.
“We advise parents to seek treatment early because when the children are brought when the cancer has advanced, it is very difficult to treat the cancer as the child will be in a poor state. At this point, the cancer would have most likely spread everywhere and if we have to treat it, then it means we must do it aggressively,” Dr Sambo said.
She said sometimes if the cancer is in its advanced stage, it does not respond to treatment, which may lead to death.
“Some cancers are detected at birth while others are detected at three months. When parents observe lumps on their children’s bodies, a child easily getting tired when playing or a white patch at the back of the eye which is not going away, they should seek medical advice,” she said.
Dr Sambo said not all health centres are capable of diagnosing and treating cancer in children, adding that children who are suspected to have cancer are referred to CDH.