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Imagine giving birth to a bouncing baby boy or maybe an adorable chubby girl, a couple months or years later he/she starts to develop a set of complication that are synonymous with other common infections. Doctors and health care professionals try best they can and offer the best services they can but the complications and symptoms are not clearing. You move from one hospital to the other seeking to put to an end the suffering your baby is going through with no success.

With time you become financially drained and when the right diagnosis is done, you’re told it is too late and nothing can be done because he/he has been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer of the white blood cells or the eye. The bubbly girl/boy is put in palliative care waiting for the day God will decide to take away the pain. But if there was enough awareness in the health care sector and among parents about childhood cancer, maybe the young soul would have been salvaged.

This is what is currently happening in Kenya and other Sub Saharan Countries. We are losing hundreds of young ones aged between three and seventeen years because there was no early diagnosis of the type of cancer they were suffering from.

Causes of Childhood Cancer

Though causes of childhood cancer are not as white and black as those of the adults which are highly associated with lifestyle factors and exposure to compromised environment. For children, it is suspected that most childhood cancers originate from gene mutations inherited from their parents. These mutations end up causing uncontrolled cell proliferation (division).

Cancer Situation in Kenya and Globally Among Minors

It is estimated that about 400,000 cases of cancer among children are reported in the world annually. 80% of these cases are reported in middle income and developing countries. Developed countries only account for 20%.

The most recent data in Kenya by Globocan indicates that about 3200 children are diagnosed with cancer annually. This is however an underestimation since population statistics insights estimates that Kenya should be diagnosing about 6000 to 7000 cases annually.

Even with close to a half cases of childhood cancer going undiagnosed, 80% of the diagnosed cases end up not surviving. Only 20% childhood cancer survive in developing countries and sub-Sahara Africa unlike in developed countries where more than 80% survive.

According to research that was done at Moi University Teaching and Referral Hospital based in Eldoret, 222 children that were diagnosed with cancer between 2007 and 2009, only 180 began treatment. Along the treatment journey, 98 children stopped treatment. When contacted, the guardians gave financial constraints as the major reason for discontinuing with the treatment process.

This should be a major concern to both the government and stakeholders in the health sector. It should also be coupled up with the need for increased awareness, access to diagnosis and affordable treatment.

Do you have a groundbreaking story you would like us to publish? Please reach us through mm@unreportedke.co.ke or WhatsApp: +254713104367. Contact Unrepoted Ke instantly. 

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