The Pediatric Oncology Unit of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital has recorded 120 cases of childhood cancer between January and August this year.
This was disclosed by the head of the unit, Dr Vivian Painstil at a childhood cancer awareness health walk in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region.
On average, the Paediatric Cancer Unit of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital attend to about 100 new children diagnosed with cancer every year since 1998.
According to Dr Painstil, the figure is the highest so far recorded in a year. She said the figure may increase to over 200 by the end of the year, as the cases keep increasing.
In an interview with Asaase News, Dr Vivian Painstil said although the cases recorded are on the rise, she is relieved that parents now report to hospitals for early detection of the disease unlike in previous years when parents would resort to prayer camps for treatment
“Most of the time, they just cloud it in this feeling that it is spiritual, but it is not, there is a cause for it, so if your genes decide to switch, then you can get cancer,” she said.
She noted that childhood cancer unlike cancer in adults can be cured if detected and treated early.
“One thing is that if you come early, then we can do something about it, but if you go from one prayer house to another, by the time you come the disease would have spread, and if it spread then we might not be able to help you,” she added.
Thus urging parents to visit the hospital early when they see symptoms like extreme loss of weight, paleness, unexplained fever, easy bruising and bleeding, and frequent vomiting among others, which can be diagnosed as cancer.
The board chairman of the National Health Insurance Scheme Ernest Kwarko also underscored the need for parents to visit the hospital for early detection.
According to him, the insurance scheme now covers four of the childhood cancers mostly recorded; acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), Burkitt lymphoma, retinoblastoma and Wilms tumour.
He, therefore, advised parents of children with such conditions to seek early treatment, adding that the scheme will in the future cover more childhood cancers.
“Putting the four on is a start and as we are able to become more effective and efficient, when we get more resources, definitely we will add more unto the benefits package,” he said.Jonathan Ofori