In South Africa, an average of 800 to 1000 children are newly diagnosed with cancer each year. Childhood cancers share general symptoms with other illnesses; knowing the warning signs can be vital in early detection and treatment.
It is important to know that cancer in children tend to be different from cancers in adults. The majority of them occur in the developing cells like blood, bone marrow, the kidneys and tissues of the nervous system. The CANSA Childhood Cancer Awareness Programme aims to educate the public on the early warning signs. In South Africa, the St Siluan Warning Signs for Childhood Cancer are used.
St Siluan Warning Signs Childhood Cancer:
- S – Seek medical help early for ongoing symptoms
- I – White spot in the eye, new squint, sudden blindness or bulging eyeball
- L – Lump on the stomach, pelvis, head, arms, legs, testicle or glands
- U – Unexplained fever present for over two weeks, weight loss, fatigue, pale appearance, easy bruising & bleeding
- A – Aching bones, joints, back and easy fractures
- N – Neurological signs, a change in walk, balance or speech, regression, continuous headaches with / without vomiting & enlarged head
Types of Childhood Cancer
According to the recent South African Children’s Cancer Study Group (SACCSG) registry statistics, for 2009 to 2013, the five foremost types of childhood cancers in South Africa are:
Lymphoma (tumours that begin in the lymph glands)
Nephroblastomas or Wilms tumours – cancer of the kidneys
Soft tissue sarcomas (tumours that begin in the connective tissue)
Should you have any concerns about your child showing symptoms, you are advised by CANSA to seek medical help immediately. Click for fact sheets on all types of childhood cancer.