Early diagnosis and treatment of Children cancer can improve survival rates: UCI Boss
Children should not die of cancer. Early diagnosis and effective treatment can cure them. 80% of children in developed world are cured. We want to move in that direction
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, a time to recognize the children and families affected by childhood cancers and to emphasize the importance of supporting research on these devastating conditions.
In his message to the Childhood cancer month of September, Dr Jackson Oryem, Executive Director of Ugadna Cancer Institute (UCI) called upon early diagnosis of children to ensure early treatment aimed at raising the cure rate which he emphasized can catch up with the 80% cure rate in developed countries.
“Children should not die of cancer. Early diagnosis and effective treatment can cure them. 80% of children in developed world are cured. We want to move in that direction” he said.
He cautioned adults with lifestyles including smoking, alcohol drinking among others, that can lead to cancer to test and start early treatment to improve their survival rates.
Dr. Jackson Oryem at the launch of the September Cancer month highlighted the importance of the new centre of excellence is to be opened which he says will position Uganda as a regional hurb for treatment, research, and expertise to which other countries will refer for experience advances and policy guidance.
"As a regional centre of excellence, it means we are the ones guiding cancer policy, research, treatment. The rest of the countries will look up to us for expertise" he said
Dr Jackson expressed concern on the big number of cancer out patients that come from upcountry to the Uganda Cancer Institute in Kampala who during their treatment follow up have to get accommodation before going back. He said there is need to have an accommodation place where they can stay until they finish treatment while calling upon funding partners to support hostel construction.
"85% of our out-patients are from upcountry as far as Arua, Gulu, Moroto and have no relatives in Kampala, they have to stay until they get treatment. The solution is to have a place where to stay. We need funding sources to support hostel facility" he said
Dr Joyce Balagadde Kambuggu, the Head of Pediatrics Oncology at UCI, said the children department at UCI is to undertake a research aimed at specialised cases of cancer among other issues. She said the current survival rate 50% need to be improved through research in common children cancers including Lukemi, Kidney cancer, eye cancer among others.
Globally, each year, more than 300,000 children ages birth to 19 years are diagnosed with cancer around the world. Approximately 8 in 10 of these children live in low and middle-income countries where their survival rate is very low and yet the Target Goal of the WHO Global Childhood Cancer Initiative is to eliminate all pain and suffering of children fighting cancer and achieve at least 60% survival for all children diagnosed with cancer around the world by 2030.