Dr. Adedayo Joseph, an Oncologist at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), has said that children are more likely to survive cancer than adults.
In an interview with Newsbreak, Joseph said many children die from cancer because their parents don’t know they are battling cancer.
“In developed countries, they no longer talk about cancer survival in children because survival rate is above 90 percent and some childhood cancer is as high as 100 percent. They are more concerned about reducing the side effect and how to minimize use of drugs.
“A cancer at stage one is not the same as cancer at stage four, if children with cancer are diagnosed at the early stage they will surely survive.
“Childhood cancer is something that needs a lot of awareness in Nigeria, as many people don’t know that children can have cancer. Most children living with cancer don’t have access to both physical and financial assistance.
“In Nigeria, a lot of people don’t believe that children can have cancer, before it is even noticed the child would have gotten to the third or fourth level which is why it is difficult for survival. Cancer patients in the rural areas don’t have access to physical, financial and medical facility made readily available to them,” she said.
Joseph, who is also the founder of ‘The Dorcas Cancer Foundation’ (TDCF), a foundation that caters for childrn with cancer, bemoaned the lack of centres in Nigeria that specialise in caring for children that suffer from cancer.
“The available cancer centers does not have facility designed only for the treatment of childhood cancer.
“We need to start talking about childhood cancer because awareness is important, not just for the disease but that there are treatment available and it can be survived.
“It takes awareness and education to let people know that children survives cancer more than adult.” she added.
Olumuyiwa Olaoye, narrating his ordeal with his child suffering from cancer to Newsbreak , said they had been treating the disease since 2012.
“When it started in 2012, we thought it was normal sickness as it came with symptoms of fever; cold, weakness, loss of appetite. When the sickness persisted we had to do more comprehensive test which was when he was diagnosed of leukemia (cancer of the blood).
“We started his treatment almost immediately and it went on for about four years which he survived. He later developed another one called Hodgkin lymphoma, we started the treatment of that too after about a year he had a relapse.
“We just went through the last therapy August 2018, I’m glad my son is free from cancer. We have been referred to Ibadan for radiotherapy because the machine here in LUTH is down.
Perpetual Obienu, mother to another cancer victim, said her son Emmanuel was diagnosed of cancer in 2016 when he was just three years old.
“When my son was diagnosed of kidney cancer in 2016, I was shocked because I didn’t believe a 3-year-old could have cancer.
“The experience wasn’t a pleasant one, he went through series of surgeries and chemotherapy session. I’m grateful that he is finally free of cancer.” she added.
The Dorcas Cancer Foundation’ (TDCF), a member of the Union for International Cancer Control, helps children living with cancer to raise funds through their partnership with some local and international organisations.