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Pediatric cancers: at least 1,000 cases diagnosed in children each year in Cameroon

by Theophile
pediatric cancer patients

In Cameroon, it is estimated that each year, cancer is diagnosed on average in 1,000 children and adolescents aged 0 to 19.

“Generally, pediatric cancer means any tumor that occurs in a child in this age group. The most common forms are retinoblastoma (eye cancer), leukemia (blood cancer), lymphoma (immune system cancer) and solid tumors such as osteosarcoma (bone cancer) and nephroblastoma (heart cancer). kidney), also called Wilms tumor,” explains Dr Justine Essono, deputy permanent secretary of the National Committee for the Fight against Cancer (Cnlca). Unlike adult cancers, the vast majority of childhood cancers have no known cause. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), certain chronic infections such as HIV infection, Epstein-Barr virus infection and malaria are risk factors for childhood cancer, particularly in low- and middle-income countries like Cameroon. However, the signs and symptoms are similar to most common childhood illnesses, we learn. : “It can range from a fever to repeated anemia, swelling in the bones, an abdomen which increases in volume, the child’s eyes which shine in the night, strabismus…”, lists Dr Essono .

It is the persistence after a well-conducted treatment which should alert the parent or health personnel, underlines the practitioner. Therefore, if symptoms do not improve after receiving first aid, it is recommended to refer children to an approved care center such as the Chantal Biya Foundation or the Mbingo Baptist Hospital in Bamenda. For several years, an association, Mori’sChild, has been fighting to make the public understand that pediatric cancers exist, and that they can be treated in the country. Although they are rarer than adult cancers.

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On February 15, this association organized an awareness session at the hemato-oncology department of the Mother and Child Center of the Chantal Biya Foundation in Yaoundé, on the occasion of the International Childhood Cancer Day. celebrated on this day. “The objective of this awareness day was to shed light on the difficulties encountered by the various stakeholders, whether health personnel, families or caregivers like us who support these children in the management of their treatment , always highlighting the fact that when the diagnosis is early, we can have complete cures, without after-effects. Hence the theme: “Unveiling the challenges”,” explains Ruth Grace Ngo Nyobe, the founding president of this association which supports sick children and their families with an emphasis on improving the quality of life.

In April 2022, Mori’s Child signed a partnership with the Ministry of Public Health (Minsante) to raise awareness of pediatric cancers and their specificity, and to mobilize around this cause, notably through awareness-raising and educational activities. This, with the aim of shining the spotlight on this pathology which is generally unknown to the public, and which gives rise to many preconceived ideas.



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