By Nakanwagi Olivier Mukaaya
A celebrated orthopedic surgeon has revealed that pediatric cancer is on the rise in Uganda with over 7000 children suffering from the disease every year.
Dr. Ekure revealed this to our reporter in an exclusive interview early this week adding that out of the 7000 cases; only 500 get treated at the Mulago Cancer Institute.
Dr. Ekure attributed the failure to detect this cancer among children to failure by parents to take their children for screening.
“I strongly advise parents to take their children for cancer screening to avoid the pediatric cancer which affects children,” Dr. Ekure said.
He added that if children are screened early enough, it becomes easy to treat and cure them.
“Most children are diagnosed poorly and some delay in health centers or homes and kids end up losing their lives,” he said.
He said that cancer is affecting children more than HIV adding that even if cancer in children is on the increase, it has a more successful treatment rate than in adults.
“If you look at the records from UCI, the success rate of treating cancer stands at 50 percent in adults while the children stand at 80 percent because children respond better to cancer treatment compared to adults.”
In a related development, Dr. Julian Abeso, a pediatrician at Mbale Regional Referral hospital says that the biggest challenge that the country is facing as far as treating cancer in children is lack of public awareness about cancers in children.
“Public awareness about cancers in children is very low and many children end up dying because parents lack knowledge about the cancers in children.”
She further revealed that it’s very different to detect these cancers in children yet it spreads very fast.
She also said that the most common cancers in children are cancers that affect the muscles, kidneys and lymph nodes.
“It’s very hard to detect cancers in children unless they are taken to main hospitals for further checkup than delaying sick children in small health centers.”