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300000 children diagnosed with cancer globally

With 300,000 children diagnosed with cancer around the world, the International Childhood Cancer Day (ICCD) is being celebrated here like other parts of the world on Friday (February 15) focusing on “No More Pain and No More Loss” for children with .
Approximately 8 in 10 of these children live in low and middle-income countries where their survival rate is often poor, Dr Saadiya Javed Khan, Consultant Pediatric Oncologist at Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre (SKMCH&RC) told media with reference to “World Childhood Cancer Day.
“She added, Cancer is a curable disease if diagnosed and treated at an early stage under the supervision of qualified pediatric oncologists. In Pakistan, leukemia or blood cancer is the most common type found in children.
Although it is nearly 90-95% curable in the west, survival in Pakistan is about 60-70%. Factors leading to these poor outcomes include rampant malnutrition, infections, and late diagnosis.”She maintained that leukemia mostly affects kids between the ages of 3 to 5 and later adolescents. The symptoms of leukemia are very identifiable.Some of its major symptoms include pallor, fatigue, easy bruising and frequent bone pains. Besides leukemia, other common types of cancer seen in Pakistan include lymphomas, bone tumors, and retinoblastomas.
As SKMCH&RC is a referral center, it receives patients from not only all provinces of Pakistan but also from Afghanistan as well. Retinoblastoma, as it is hereditary should have genetic screening and family counselling once a child has been identified with the disease, she added.
Talking about precautionary measures, Dr Saadiya said, “A balanced diet is very important in the upbringing of a healthy child. A huge number of children are victims of malnutrition.
In our society, children are only being taken to doctors when they fall seriously ill. This practice should be avoided and regular medical checkups must be done after every six months to a year for well-child checks.”She further added that in cancer treatment for children the role of trained pediatric oncologists is vital along with the availability of latest technology. SKMCH&RC is providing state-of-the-art facilities in this regard.The most popular technology in the treatment of leukemia is cytogenetics and evaluation of minimal-residual disease (MRD) which is being provided to patients since the last couple of years. Cytogenetic helps in risk stratification and appropriate treatment plans.
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