Expert harps on early detection of cancer in children


Dr Nkechi Anunobi, Chief Consultant Paediatrician, Gwarimpa General Hospital, says early detection of cancer in children is treatable.

Anunobi said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday.

“Children also suffer cancer, childhood cancer is treatable if detected early; cancer is not only for the adult, it also occurs in some infant.

“There are different types of cancer in children but the most common is the leukaemia, cancer of the blood.

“ The cause of cancer in children is usually not the same ones that cause cancer in adults, such as smoking or exposure to environmental toxins.

“In most cases, however, childhood cancers come from random mutations in the genes of growing cells.

“Because these changes happen randomly and unpredictably, there is no effective way to prevent them,’’ she said.

Anunobi said leukaemia which are cancers of the bone marrow and blood, are the most common in childhood. She added that leukemias can cause bone and joint pain, fatigue, weakness, pale skin, bleeding or bruising, fever, weight loss and other symptoms.

According to her, a few environmental factors, such as radiation exposure, have been linked with some types of childhood cancers.

She said some studies have also suggested that some parental exposures smoking could increase a child’s risk of certain cancers.

“We must open our minds and search for it, do not say no, it’s not my portion but nobody wants it to be their portion but cancer is a reality.

“Cancer is not a disease that one should be afraid of, but we should tackle it. Adult and children can survive cancer if we do the needful,” she said.

Anunobi lamented situation where cancer patients would prefer to go to church and pray or go to traditional healers, and not orthodox medicine thereby risking their chances of survival.

She also advised parents to be cautious and vigilant of their children’s health, while tasking Nigerians on healthy lifestyle. (NAN)


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