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Know the Signs of Teen Cancer

Know the Signs of Teen Cancer

13 February 2020 – CANSA launched one of the few teen cancer patient rooms in the country, at Ward 3, Tygerberg Hospital, as part of its CANSA TLC (Tough Living with Cancer) support service to children, teens and families affected by cancer on February 14th, 2020, just ahead of International Childhood Cancer Day (15 February).

Operational Manager of Ward G3 at Tygerberg Hospital, Sister Eleanor De Beer adds, “This is such a needed service for our many teenagers we serve here. We’re grateful and excited that we can offer them a warm and welcoming place to stay while they are on their treatment journey. Our parents appreciate the opportunity to still be with their children, even though they are teenagers, this is not possible in the adult wards.”

Cara Noble, CANSA National Manager: Tough Living with Cancer (TLC) programme states, “It’s estimated that at least two-thirds of children with cancer never reach a specialist treatment centre and that the majority of those that do, are unfortunately in the advanced stages of their illness.

Cancers affecting younger people share general symptoms with other illnesses, which can result in a misdiagnosis and there needs to be a determined effort by the government to educate parents, medical and clinic staff to be aware of symptoms. In teens especially, the warning signs of cancer may be attributed to growing pains associated with this developmental stage, or with normal sports injuries as teens tend to be active. Parents and guardians need to be alert to symptoms that persist or recur repeatedly, as medical assistance should then be sought immediately.”

“The cause of most cancers affecting teens is not known. Current international data suggests 10% of teens diagnosed, may have a genetic predisposition to it and those with HIV are at higher risk for certain cancers such as Kaposi sarcoma and non-Hodgkins lymphoma. The top cancers currently affecting teens are non-Hodgkins, Hodgkin’s lymphomas, bone and soft tissue cancers (sarcomas), brain tumours, Kaposi sarcoma and leukaemia,” Noble said.

St Siluan Warning Signs Childhood Cancer:

S – Seek medical help early for ongoing symptoms

I – White spot in the eye, new squint, and sudden blindness or bulging eyeball

L – Lump on the stomach, pelvis, head, arms, legs, testicle or glands

U – Unexplained fever present for over two weeks, weight loss, fatigue, pale appearance, easy bruising & bleeding

A – Aching bones, joints, back and easy fractures

N – Neurological signs, a change in the walk, balance or speech, regression, continuous headaches with/without vomiting & enlarged head.

The advice given to parents by CANSA should they have any concerns about their child showing symptoms is that they need to seek medical help immediately.

Information from CANSA


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