Education on childhood cancer was the order of the day at the annual Eyabantwana Visiting Lecture by Professor Robert Carachi held at the East London Health Resource Centre’s auditorium on Tuesday.
Carachi, who is a professor of surgical pediatrics at the University of Glasgow in the UK, said the day was about raising educational awareness about childhood cancer.
“People need to be vigilant. If something is not right with the child, if there is blood in the urine, a lump or anything, they have to be picked out early and surgeons can deal with that.
“People need to recognise that children get cancer and if caught early, it can be treated. Cancers in children happen and when they do, they need to be treated imminently,” he said.
Frere Hospital’s pediatric surgery department head Doctor Milind Chitnis said the lecture spoke to the medical community.
“Also to the nursing staff and doctors – if a parent takes a child to a clinic, then they should respect the mother’s complaint. We say Ccancer in children is a semi-emergency: if you suspect a child has cancer, don’t send the child home. Admit the child and don’t book the scan next week if you can, book it today or tomorrow,” he said.
“There are some drugs that have made a big difference in treating cancer in children. However, there are still cancers that kill. There is still so much to be done to treat cancer in children, but I am optimistic for the future,” said Professor Carachi.