Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

South Africa joins the rest of the global community to commemorate childhood cancer awareness month in September to raise awareness about children`s cancers to reduce child mortality rate and highlight the global burden of childhood cancers.

 

Although, children`s cancers are not always treated like adult cancers, they are highly curable with higher survival rates in high-income countries, while the situation is different in low-middle-income countries.

 

Delayed diagnosis together with too few specially trained health specialists, such as doctors and nurses, contribute to low survival rates. The 2022 Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is commemorated under the theme: “Better Survival is achievable #throughyourhands” which serves as a clarion call for governments, non-government, and the private sector to work together to achieve at least 60% survival in low-middle-income countries and to reduce suffering of all children with cancer by 2030 worldwide.

 

Globally, childhood and adolescent cancer is threatening to overtake infectious diseases, as one of the highest causes of disease-related mortality in children. Despite being relatively rare, in high-income countries childhood cancer is the second most common cause of death in children aged 5 to 14 years, after accidents, whilst in Africa it does not make it into the top 10 common causes.

 

The month of September is considered a month of hope for better treatment outcomes, for a brighter and healthier future for young cancer patients.

 

Professor Gita Naidu, Chair of South African Children’s Cancer Study Group says, “Early diagnosis and availability of basic childhood cancer drugs will enable us to meet the WHO 2030 goal of an overall survival of 60% in low-middle-income countries. Childhood cancer can be cured”.

 

According to Dr Kibachio Joseph Mwangi, Medical Officer responsible for Non-Communicable Diseases at the  World Health Organization of South Africa, “unlike in adults where screening has a huge impact on early cancer diagnosis treatment and outcome, awareness of childhood cancer symptoms by families and primary care providers, accurate and timely clinical evaluation as well as accurate diagnosis, staging and access to prompt treatment will go a long way to improve our survival rate in children with cancer”.  Early detection of childhood cancer affords early diagnosis enabling a better chance of being cured and an increase in the survival rate.

 

Sandhya Singh, Acting Chief Director: NCD Cluster, NDoH stresses the importance of meaningful engagement with all stakeholders in particular with children and teenagers living with cancer as well as their parents or caregivers to better understand their lived experiences and these impact on their access to care as well as the quality of survival.

 

Hedley Lewis, CHOC CEO says, “you have the power to make a change, no matter who you are, let’s be a voice for our children and teenagers this International Childhood Cancer Awareness Month! Our children deserve to live a full life, and we have the power to give them the chance to do so”.

 

The survival rate of SA has gradually increased over the past few years to about 55%, though it is still well below the rate of developed countries of 80 to 90%, and the WHO GICC 2030 goal of at least a 60% survival rate. Statistics indicate that countries may be missing some children and teens who are either never diagnosed, misdiagnosed or unreported. A key factor is the lack of knowledge about the early warnings signs of childhood cancer which are accessible in various platforms including CHOC website

 

Members of the public are urged to be the change for those going through the childhood cancer journey and for those who have been newly diagnosed. There are many ways people can get involved this September, in order to make a difference in the lives of children and teenagers who are on the cancer recovery journey.

 

For more information and media enquiries, please contact:

 

Mr Foster Mohale

Health Departmental Spokesperson

0724323792

[email protected]

Hedley Lewis

CHOC CEO

0829947655

[email protected]

 

 

Lancet Laboratories in Collaboration with CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation

Lancet Laboratories in Collaboration with CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation SA showing that #LancetLabCares

Sandile Sihlaba (Group Chief Marketing Officer) at Lancet Laboratories, “we pride ourselves in providing laboratory services with diagnostic excellence and being at the forefront of diagnostic innovation.”

Lancet Laboratories recognises the importance of engaging and interacting with the communities we operate in, as part of our Corporate Social Responsibility and Investment. This is done through our various #LancetLabCares initiatives. We are grateful to take part in initiatives that allow us to give back and be in unity with the communities.

Lancet Laboratories supports various NPO’s nationally and CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation South Africa is one of them that speaks to our motto which is #LancetLabCares so this ongoing relationship with CHOC has now grown nationally.

Lancet Laboratories and CHOC has embarked on a national initiative to appreciate and celebrate Nurses at the 16 Paediatric Oncology units, CHOC augments treatment through its Comprehensive Child and Family Support Programme.  Five hundred nurses in paediatric oncology were gifted with pouches and pens in acknowledgement of their vital contribution to children and teens with cancer and life-threatening blood disorder.

“CHOC is privileged to partner with Lancet Laboratories to pay tribute to the nurses in Paediatric Oncology Units across the country. Individuals who stand side by side with patients, 24 hours a day with passion and love. I would like to pay tribute to Lancet Labs who proudly integrate corporate values to support South Africa” Hedley Lewis, CEO of CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation SA.

CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation SA receive their first Solar System

CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation SA receive their first Solar System!

We have officially announced the first clean renewable energy project of a CHOC accommodation facility which was made possible by the generous financial support of the Australian High Commission. Based close to the specialised paediatric oncology treatment centres, our accommodation facilities are a home-away-from-home where the children and teenagers who are undergoing treatment for childhood cancer or a life-threatening blood disorder can come and stay with their parents or caregivers. These houses provide families with access to the healthcare facilities for treatment which would not have been possible due to distance or financial restraints.  The accommodation facilities provide a therapeutic environment that helps patients and parents/caregivers maintain a positive attitude during the cancer journey.  All meals are provided, as well as transport to and from the hospitals. It is a clean and safe environment with caring and understanding staff, a place where new friendships are formed.

Hedley Lewis, CHOC CEO, was joined by Her Excellency, Gita Kamath from The Australian High Commission as well as MMC Health Cllr Rina Marx (City of Tshwane) and MMC Community & Social Development Cllr Peggy de Bruin (City of Tshwane). It was an intimate but prestigious event where we expressed how grateful we are for the new system implemented into our house and how we can start to filter the “going green” theme throughout CHOC.

The first of its kind addition to a CHOC facility, a Solar System, which will be a huge benefit to not only the Northern Region home but also to the environment. The use of this Solar System will bring assurance that our families will have hot water and a warm house in winter, our phones will always be charged, and meals will never be delayed. These seem like small items but play a big role when we want to make their stay as comfortable as possible, providing a home away from home. Hedley Lewis has said that “the money which will be saved from this system will be utilised within the house, bringing down our monthly running costs.” In addition to this, the other benefits of these include being pollution-free and causes no greenhouse gases to be emitted after installation. Reduced dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels. Renewable clean power that is available every day of the year, even cloudy days produce some power. Return on investment unlike paying for utility bills.

Over R2MILLION raised to change lives

CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation SA Flip Flop Day 2022
Over R2MILLION raised to change lives!

Childhood cancer is a frightening reality that many families across South Africa have to deal with daily. South African families face the most challenging battle they will ever have to encounter – alongside the little warriors fighting on the Frontline. But luckily, these brave children and teenagers, along with their families, never have to stand alone.

Our 3rd Flip Flop Day, we were given an opportunity to show the children our passion & support by reminding them that they are never standing alone! CHOC’s annual event was celebrated on the 18th February 2022, and it was bigger, better and filled with more sole.  South Africans are certainly filled with wholesome souls when it comes to our children, showing that we can rally behind them, as CHOC SOLE-diers, and truly be a force to be reckoned with.

We are incredibly excited to announce that we have raised just over TWO MILLION RAND for Flip Flop Day 2022, an amount that seemed like a dream when we went into our third year.

This amount was announced along with our sponsor partners, The CoLab Network, Tekkie Town, PNA and Bongi Archi on Tuesday the 5th of April at our CHOC House in Saxonwold. It was an intimate occasion where we were able to look back at our success and determine how to move forward to change more lives, together!

Hedley Lewis, CEO of CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation has said “Flip Flop Day has been an incredible campaign, a campaign that surpassed all our expectations. The expectations of how many stickers were sold, how many children and schools participated, how many board rooms simultaneously had jackets and flips flops. The how many’s just keep on going but most importantly the amount of awareness around the journey of patients who are undergoing cancer treatment. I would like to thank South Africa for embracing Flippie and myself for my maiden campaign.”

The money raised from Flip Flop Day 2022 will be going towards our CHOC Core Programmes. These programmes include our Emotional Support Programme, Awareness Programme as well as the patient facing support needs. This support includes emotional care, from diagnosis onwards and patient facing support ranging from accommodation, transport, CHOC Carebags, and basic nutritional support. Without our support, many children – particularly from low-income families living far from treatment centers – would not be able to access, or adhere to, the necessary but arduous treatment cycle, which can last over three years. Our money will also be used to advocate on behalf of those whose lives have been affected by childhood cancer through awareness campaigns and lobbying.

We incredibly grateful to every individual who stepped into a store or a CHOC office to purchase a sticker, to the thousands of students at schools who were involved, the Johannesburg Mini Council who became a voice for Flip Flop Day, the corporates who managed to get their entire teams involved and the members of the media who took this cause into their hearts and helped us spread the word to the general public, thank you for making this day possible!

Childhood Cancer in low and middle-income countries

Every year, according to the World Health Organization, an estimated 400 000 children and adolescents of 0-19 years old develop cancer. Leukaemias, brain cancers, lymphomas, and solid tumours, such as neuroblastoma and Wilms tumours are the most common childhood cancers. Cure rates in high-income countries (HICs) with 20% of the world’s children with cancer exceed 80%, while only 30% in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are cured.

 

The survival rate of childhood cancer in South Africa is around 55-60% and seems to be on the rise.

 

The economies of most LMICs are at an early stage of development; stages characterised by poverty, shortages of health-care workers, weak health systems, low education levels, poor access to modern technology, and a paucity of health care facilities. LMICs also have younger populations and therefore a larger proportion of children with cancer than HICs. Additionally, interventions such as public health campaigns which impact on early diagnosis and referral which translate into improved outcomes for adults may have limited impact on decreasing the incidence of paediatric malignancies are not related to modifiable risk factors. However, a few LMICs have seen declines in childhood mortality because of improvements in infectious diseases control. Consequently, noncommunicable disease such as childhood cancer are on the rise and it is likely that the Covid-19 pandemic will reverse gains made in some countries or further exacerbate progress due to resource constraints experienced from a health system – based, supply perspective.

 

While there is an overall need to strengthen systems to improve diagnostics and treatment for patients of all ages with cancer, dedicated centres for childhood cancer treatment require specialized diagnostic and therapeutic capabilities, and the ability to manage complications. Childhood cancer care should ideally be managed in a limited number of treatment centres in which multi-disciplinary resources and expertise are concentrated with good satellite centres who can deliver some treatment, thereby decreasing the burden on families, providing rapid management of complications, and decreasing abandonment of treatment. Intensive care units (ICUs) are imperative for the delivery of intensive chemotherapy, but centres lacking ICUs will also be able to cure a portion of children. Stable drug supplies are mandatory as drug shortages impact negatively on survival. Nutritional support is particularly important in LMICs where malnutrition at diagnosis or during treatment is prevalent with an adverse impact on outcome.

 

It is essential to have individuals trained in paediatric oncology i.e., paediatric oncologists, surgeons, pathologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, pharmacists, nurses palliative care and allied care workers. Inpatient and outpatient beds preferably designated for paediatric oncology patients is essential. Infection control methods such as a hand hygiene programme, isolation capabilities, and a strong anti-microbial stewardship programme are desirable. Basic haematologic, biochemical, microbiologic, and pathologic laboratory services capable of timely turnaround is vital to the successful delivery of cancer care. Although advanced diagnostic modalities, such as flow cytometry and cytogenetics, are available in HICs, their absence does not preclude the establishment of a paediatric oncology centre.

 

Diagnostic imaging capabilities are necessary. Advanced modalities such as computerized tomography and magnetic resonance imaging are ideal, but basic modalities, such as plain radiographs and ultrasonography are sufficient to begin treating childhood cancer. Reliable supplies of chemotherapeutic agents and supportive care medications, such as antimicrobials, antiemetics, and analgesics, are crucial. According to the WHO only 29% of low-income countries report that cancer medicines are available to their populations compared to 96% of high-income countries. Blood product availability is vital as treatment protocols may cause bone marrow suppression, necessitating the timely and reliable delivery of safe blood products. However, this is not the case for all chemotherapies; treatment for several malignancies requires minimal transfusion support.

 

Abandonment of therapy is a significant cause of treatment failure in many LMICs. Financial support, provision of transport and accommodation decreases the risk of abandonment and must be considered an essential part of oncology care in LMICs. Many factors contribute to treatment abandonment, including a lack of financial resources, poor disease comprehension, cultural factors, belief in alternative medicines, fear of treatment toxicity, inadequate care on the part of health care workers, and decreased awareness. just as some level of basic supportive care capacity is necessary to treat children with cancer, basic educational and aid programs aimed at preventing abandonment are also imperative. Addressing the emotional, social, financial, and spiritual needs of children and families facilitates adherence to treatment, improves quality of life, and reduces the risk of abandonment.

Surgery is a vital component for diagnosis and treatment of many paediatric malignancies, e.g., Wilms tumour but many cancers are curable without surgical intervention. Similarly, radiation therapy is used for a variety of paediatric malignancies e.g., Hodgkin lymphoma, Wilms tumour, and sarcomas. However, in some cases, substituting additional chemotherapy or surgery can result in cure.

 

Different childhood cancers require different treatment intensities for maximum cure rates; for example, the chemotherapy for Wilms tumour is far less intense than for acute myeloid leukemia. Risk stratification systems is one of the major achievements in paediatric oncology where treatment intensity is matched to the disease and the disease risk, reducing both over- and under-treatment. It is imperative to avoid overtreatment in LMICs, as it contributes to an increase in treatment-related mortality. The balance point for each malignancy is essential to optimize therapy and curing the maximum number of children possible. The availability of supportive care is key to the balanced approach.

 

Collaboration with centres of excellence in HICs allows multi-disciplinary expertise with local knowledge and capabilities.

Collection of basic data on patient demographics, disease characteristics, and treatment outcomes, including cause of death, allows for evaluation of specific treatment protocols, and allows for modification of therapy. Many factors contribute to morbidity and mortality, e.g., treatment-related mortality, relapse, or treatment abandonment. Health care workers in many LMICs lack the time to collect, review, and analyse outcome information. In most settings, a resolute data manager with sufficient training, infrastructure, and support is needed to ensure accurate and timely data entry. Collection and analysis of data are neither academic research nor a luxury, but outcome monitoring is essential to improving the care and outcomes of children with cancer. Quality improvement efforts in LMICs make the difference between life and death.

 

Most LMICs lack policies to ensure good paediatric oncology care, and do not have a National Cancer Plan (NCP), a public health programme aimed at increasing the diagnosis, reducing the number of deaths and improving the quality of life of cancer patients, through the implementation of evidence-based strategies for the prevention, early detection, diagnosis, treatment, palliation, and research for innovative solutions and evaluation of outcomes. An NCP is to promote the implementation of cost-effective measures beneficial for the maximum number of persons in the population. NCPs promote the development of management guidelines, emphasise early with easy referral pathways, lowers the morbidity and mortality, and improves the quality of life of cancer patients, no matter where they are born.

 

Leaving no one behind includes government’s commitment to all children and their families including our most vulnerable children with non-communicable, long-term conditions.

 

Professor Gita Naidu Chair: South African Children’s Cancer Study Group

 

Sandhya Singh Director, Non-Communicable Diseases National Department of Health

 

Hedley Lewis Chief Executive Officer of CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation South Africa

 

 

For Media Queries contact Hedley Lewis:  0829947655 – [email protected]

 

International Childhood Cancer Day (ICCD) – 15 February 2022

International Childhood Cancer Day (ICCD) | CHOC South Africa

The 15th of February marks International Childhood Cancer Day (ICCD) and is used to continue to create a greater awareness and education to empower all of us to recognise the early warning signs of childhood cancer, make informed choices about our children’s health and counter fears and misconceptions about childhood cancer.  Each year, a distinct group of childhood cancer stakeholders is highlighted: #throughourhands giving tribute to children and adolescents with cancer (2021), #throughyourhands with focus on healthcare teams and volunteers (2022) and #throughtheirhands paying tribute to the families and caregivers (2023).

 

The theme this year is #throughyourhands highlighting the incredible individuals whose hands care for children and teens with cancer or life-threatening blood disorders. Just as these children are entrusted in the hands of the multi-disciplinary teams, every child’s journey is also in our hands. It is our responsibility to know the early warnings signs for swift detection to be able to refer patients timeously to specialised treatment and care and in doing so decrease the mortality and morbidity of cancer in children.

 

Every year, according to the World Health Organization, an estimated 400 000 children and adolescents of 0-19 years old develop cancer. Leukaemias, brain cancers, Lymphomas, and solid tumours, such as Neuroblastoma and Wilms tumours are the most common childhood cancers. Cure rates in high-income countries (HICs) with 20% of the world’s children with cancer exceed 80%, while only 30% in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are cured. The survival rate of childhood cancer in South Africa is around 55-60% and seems to be on the rise.

 

Public health campaigns impact on early diagnosis and referral which translates into improved outcomes but may have limited impact on decreasing the incidence of paediatric malignancies are not related to modifiable risk factors. Dedicated centres for childhood cancer treatment requires specialised diagnostic and therapeutic capabilities, and the ability to manage complications. Childhood cancer care should ideally be managed in a limited number of treatment centres in which resources and expertise are concentrated with good satellite centres who can deliver some treatment, thereby decreasing the burden on families, providing rapid management of complications, and decreasing abandonment of treatment.

 

It is essential to have individuals trained in paediatric oncology i.e., paediatric oncologists, surgeons, pathologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, pharmacists, nurses, and allied care workers. Different childhood cancers require different treatment intensities for maximum cure rates; for example, the chemotherapy for Wilms tumour is far less intense than for acute Myeloid Leukaemia. Collaboration with centres of excellence in HICs allows multi-disciplinary expertise with local knowledge and capabilities.

 

Every child, teenager and parent who starts their childhood cancer journey, have hope that their child will survive and live a long, happy, healthy, and fulfilled life. As a global childhood cancer community, we believe that increased awareness and accurate information and knowledge can empower all of us to recognize the early warning signs of childhood cancer, make informed choices about our children’s health and counter fears and misconceptions about childhood cancer.   During the prevention, care, and management; as well as the rehabilitation and integration of survivors, there are many role-players that contribute to the success thereof. Parents and families have hope when they trust their children and teenagers #throughyourhands and on ICCD 2022 we salute the healthcare workers, allied workers and NGOs who impact on the lives of children and teens with cancer.  They are the voices of the families and give hope to the children, teens and their families to complete the cancer treatment. Together, and #throughyourhands we can reach the WHO Global Childhood Cancer Initiative (GICC) of 60% survival rate by 2030 and in doing reduce the suffering of the children.

 

Covid-19 has had a substantial impact on both those that treat and those who are treated. Leaving no one behind includes government’s commitment to all children and their families including our most vulnerable children with non-communicable, long-term conditions. Let us amplify the visibility of childhood cancer at all levels and reach the breadth of stakeholders with the power to effect life-saving change.

 

Together, we can sustain and reinforce healthcare professionals in the fulfilment of their all-important role and make a positive difference for children and teenagers with cancer worldwide.

 

If you are concerned your child may have cancer, please refer your child or teenager here: https://choc.org.za/choc-patient-referral-pathways/

 

 

Professor Gita Naidu Chair: South African Children’s Cancer Study Group

 

Sandhya Singh Director, Non-Communicable Diseases National Department of Health

 

Hedley Lewis Chief Executive Officer of CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation South Africa

 

 

For Media Queries contact Hedley Lewis:  0829947655 – [email protected]

Flip Flop Day 2022 – have a heart and wear a sole!

Childhood cancer is a frightening reality that many families across South Africa have to deal with daily. South African families face the most challenging battle they will ever have to encounter – alongside the little warriors fighting on the Frontline. But luckily, these brave children and teenagers, along with their families, never have to stand alone.

Flippie is back for CHOC’s Flip Flop Day 2022

 

Flippie! South Africa’s favourite and most well-loved CHOC SOLE-dier. Flippie a flip-flop with a wholehearted passion for compassion. He’s stepped up to lead the movement to get every South African – young, old, corporate, casual, from the seaside to the city – to have a heart and wear a sole! All he wants us to do, quite literally, is to kick off our shoes for a day and slip on a pair of flip flops in support of the brave children and teenagers at CHOC. He is determined to get every one of us to set our 10 toes free, and walk beside our little fighters in solidarity against a disease that needs to know that we will NOT give up without a fight!

 

And as we ring in our 3rd year of the CHOC Flip Flop Day, we’re given a 3rd opportunity to show the children our passion & support by reminding them that they are never standing alone! CHOC’s annual event will be celebrated on the 18th February 2022, and this year it’s going to be bigger, better and filled with more sole.  South Africans are certainly filled with wholesome souls when it comes to our children, showing that we can rally behind them, as CHOC SOLE-diers, and truly be a force to be reckoned with. 

 

Where to find your Flip Flop Day stickers?

A donation of R10 gets you a Flip Flop Day sticker, then slip on your favourite flip flops and take a colourful stand with all of us in support of the brave children and teenagers of the CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation who are facing the battle against childhood cancer. 

 

Get ready to flip your flops and join us in making a difference together! For more information or to purchase your sticker, visit a CHOC region closest to you, www.choc.org.za or pop into your local PNA or Tekkie Town store.

 

“I am thrilled that one of the first major fundraising events as newly appointed CEO of CHOC is the exciting Flip Flop Day. Wearing my flip flops and my sticker allows me the opportunity to emphasise that a few minutes is all it takes to make a meaningful contribution to ensure that no child or teen walks their journey alone. From children at schools, business colleagues, health workers and all other South Africans proudly showing their commitment to uplift the lives of children and teens on their cancer journey” states an excited Hedley Lewis

Discovery Vitality MoveToGive

CHOC provides comprehensive support and care to children and teenagers with cancer or a life-threatening blood disorder and their families from the time of diagnosis until the end of treatment – whether cure or sadly end-of-life.  CHOC offers practical support in the form of accommodation, transport assistance, Carebags with essential items and information, to over 3000 beneficiaries annually, particularly from low-income households across South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa. . Alongside this practical support, the organisation offers psychosocial and emotional support through more than 17 000 family interactions.

This partnership is part of the broader Vitality MoveToGive campaign. MoveToGive uses crowdsourced philanthropy to improve the lives of thousands of South Africans, by enabling Vitality members to support charitable causes, like CHOC, for social good. The app-based functionality allows members who reach their weekly activity, financial and driving goals to donate their earned Discovery Miles to a preselected cause or charity.

James Vos, Head of Product Management at Discovery Vitality and lead on MoveToGive says, “We are grateful to have a member base who are so generous in supporting those fighting cancer.” He adds, “It is an honour to partner with CHOC, whose mission aligns so closely with Discovery’s core purpose of making people healthier and protecting and enhancing their lives.”

For more information on the campaign please visit https://www.discovery.co.za/vitality/movetogive-choc-foundation

For further media queries please contact:

 

CHOC Representative:

 

Hedley Lewis, CEO

[email protected]

 

Nirupa Kasserchun, National Fundraiser

[email protected]

 

Taryn Seegers, Communications Coordinator

[email protected]

 

Discovery Vitality Press Representative

 

Munene Khoza

Senior Reputation Manager | Vitality & Wellness

[email protected]

About Vitality

Vitality is the largest global platform for behaviour change, underpinning the insurance products of leading insurers worldwide, with more than 20 million members in 30 markets. The Vitality model, established by Discovery Limited in South Africa, has been incentivising behaviour change amongst its clients for over 25 years. Vitality creates shared value by combining behavioural economics, clinical science, and financial incentives to encourage and reward members for taking steps to improve their health. The model began with a focus on health and wellness, and has expanded to include short-term insurance, investments and financial wellness. For more information, please visit the Vitality Website or email the Discovery Media Relations team.

 

 

About CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation SA

CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation SA, founded in 1979, by a group of parents who identified the need to support the parents of children and teenagers who were diagnosed with cancer or a life-threatening blood disorder and their families. In line with the organisation’s vision, we have since evolved into the largest and leading childhood cancer non-profit in South Africa providing life-changing and all-embracing support programmes to both the child or teenager and their families, from diagnosis to remission or sadly end-of-life. Our core programmes are in line with the WHO Global Childhood Cancer initiative to increase the survival rate of childhood cancer in South Africa to 60% by 2030 through our Comprehensive Child and Family Support Programme offering psychosocial,  emotional and practical support, education and awareness;  as well as advocacy through strategic alliances and networks.

Be Bold, Go Gold

Gold September is an annual campaign worldwide to raise awareness of childhood cancer. There are many advances in pediatric oncology, yet cancer remains a leading cause of mortality in children. It is imperative that children are diagnosed early for effective treatment of early-stage disease, which will translate into favourable outcomes and improved overall survival. Many factors are responsible for delays in childhood cancer, including the child’s age, family’s socioeconomic status, parental educational level, distance of residence from the hospital, cancer type, site, and stage. 

Many children in low- and middle-income countries have poor access to hospitals, which in turn lack essential diagnostic tests, experience a shortage of nursing medical and surgical personnel, inadequate and erratic supply of basic pharmaceutical and chemotherapeutic agents, and an absence of radiotherapy, surgical and intensive care facilities. These are but some of the factors which contribute to patients presenting with advanced disease and resultant poorer outcomes. 

As neonatal, infant and child health improves in South Africa, communicable diseases, such as respiratory and diarrhoeal diseases, HIV-AIDS, and tuberculosis, are better controlled. It is imperative to focus on non-communicable diseases such as childhood cancer and identify these diseases early, have access to the correct diagnostics and therapeutics and ensure the availability of supportive care to improve overall survival of our children with cancer. 

The burden of the SARS-CoV-2 is further testing our fragile African health care systems. Many caregivers are unemployed due to national lockdowns, there are inadequate transport systems, and caregivers are afraid to venture out of the safety of their homes to seek healthcare as the ever-present danger of contracting Covid-19 lurks. Sadly, we may experience even further delays in the diagnosis of childhood cancer. 

We should endeavour to ensure children with cancer do not face further delays in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer during the global SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. 

The Siluan Warning Signs for childhood cancer were adopted by the South African Children’s Cancer Study Group and the national Department of Health to promote the early detection and we encourage the community to be a voice of hope this September and collaborate with health care workers, non-profit organisations, and the Department of Health to spread the Siluan Warning Signs for early cancer diagnosis. This could possibly save the life of a child or teenager. 

If you are concerned your child may have cancer, please refer your child or teenager here: https://choc.org.za/choc-patient-referral-pathways/ 

Professor Gita Naidu
Chair: South African Children’s Cancer Study Group 

Sandhya Singh
Director, Non-Communicable Diseases National Department of Health 

Hedley Lewis 
Chief Executive Officer 

CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation South Africa 

For Media Queries – contact Hedley Lewis – 0829947655 – [email protected] 

 

CHOC continues to augment the paediatric oncology fraternity

The CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation SA has continued to augment the pediatric oncology fraternity to support patients to receive treatment throughout the SARS-Coronavirus-2 pandemic.

“If you are receiving treatment for cancer or have signs and symptoms of cancer, please do not delay in going to the hospital. Hospitals and clinics have contingency plans to assist all patients, and infection prevention measures to prevent the spread of SARS-Coronavirus-2” says Professor Gita Naidu, and omit second doctor (President of the South African Children’s Study Cancer Group -SACCSG).

 

At CHOC we recommend that despite the SARS-Coronavirus-2 pandemic which is still evolving globally and remains a public health emergency of international concern, do not avoid getting checked or delay your treatment, an early diagnosis can better the survival rate.

Hedley Lewis – CHOC’s CEO communicates that “our foundation continues to avail ourselves to members of the public who may  detect any of the early warning signs of childhood cancer in a child or teenager, please contact the CHOC helpline – 0800 333 555 (during office hours) or visit our website to get in touch with the region closest to you: www.choc.org.za

To view the CHOC Early Warning Signs please click here: https://choc.org.za/childhood-cancer-early-warning-signs/

 

For further media queries please contact:

Taryn Seegers
[email protected]
+27 72 243 5179

 

CHOC is a non-profit organisation that advocates for the health and well-being of children and teenagers diagnosed with cancer or life-threatening blood disorders. The passionate and dedicated staff and volunteers of CHOC aim to save lives through early detection and comprehensive support programmes for the families affected by cancer such as; accommodation, transport assistance, psychosocial, emotional and practical support and more. They also provide awareness and education on childhood cancer and life-threatening blood disorders.