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Neo
21st February 2011, 09:57 PM
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It is estimated that 1,200 children aged between 0-15 years get cancer in Ghana every year.

According to the President of the Robert Mitchell Memorial Cancer Foundation, Mrs Emma Mitchell, the situation was aggravated by the ignorance of some parents to take their children to the nearest hospital when symptoms of the illness were detected.

What was even alarming, she said, was the fact that the survival rate in the county was 20 per cent, compared to-70-80 per cent in developed countries.

According to her, health experts had maintained that childhood cancers could be cured, provided prompt and essential treatment was accessible.

Mrs Mitchell, a former minister of state and now a member of the Council of State, therefore, advised parents to immediately report to health specialists for early detection and cure when they detected signs such as prolonged fever, loss of weight and appetite, fatigue, easy bruising or bleeding in their children.

In an interview with the Daily Graphic after a float had been organised by the foundation along selected streets of Accra to create awareness of childhood cancer, Mrs Mitchell explained that lack of knowledge and inadequate medical facilities were some of the contributory factors responsible for the alarming rate of the disease in the country.

Cancer is a class of diseases characterised by out-of-control cell growth. There are over 100 different types of cancer and each is classified by the type of cell that is initially affected.

Cancer harms the body when damaged cells divide incontrollably to form lumps or masses of tissue called tumours (except in the case of leukaemia in which cancer prohibits normal blood function by abnormal cell division in the blood stream).

Tumours can grow and interfere with the digestive, nervous and circulatory systems and they can release hormones that alter body function. Tumours that stay in one spot and demonstrate limited growth are generally considered to be benign.

Dr Juliana Mitchell of the Child Health Department at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital advised against the use of pesticides at close range to children because pesticides were associated with acute myeloid leukaemia.

Dr Mitchell, a daughter of Mrs Mitchell, said pollution to the environment, continuous infection of malaria, hepatitis and other diseases such a HIV/AIDS could precipitate cancer diseases.





Source: Daily Graphic