As Uganda Cancer Institute sets sights on celebrating 52 years of existence and providing cancer treatment and support to those that have the disease, there are milestones that should also be celebrated and childhood cancer survival is among them.
On Saturday, the 24th of August, Uganda Cancer Institute will be joined by a variety of cancer organizations, companies that are willing to support and all well-wishers in celebrating the lives of children who have been able to beat cancer and those are normally called “Heroes”
Cancer has become one of the biggest epidemics in the World and in Uganda because the minimal awareness about the illness, many are suffering from it and some even die without knowing that they were suffering from cancer.
The illness is gotten by each and everyone, the rich and poor, those who are fat or slim, the old and children to even babies. The illness doesn’t segregate at all.
The number of children suffering from cancer in Uganda has gone up and we could either credit that to the bad environment or it is because of the increased awareness that Uganda Cancer Institute has been carrying out countrywide. But either way, the numbers have been increasing.
Unlike cancer in adults where the certainty of it being cured is quite low, in children, the possibility of the disease being treated is always high. There are more young people who get cured of cancer as compared to those in adults.
On Saturday, Uganda Cancer Institute will celebrate over 150 children who have been able to go through chemotherapy and other cancer treatments and beaten the disease.
Cancer is affecting more children than other common infections in the country. The incidence rate of cancer has increased from 400 new cases in 2015 to 490 in 2016 and 512 cases by 2017. The disease is estimated to be affecting 7,000 children in Uganda today.
The most common cancers in children are those that affect the muscles, kidneys and lymph nodes. This increase in cases should not cause detrimental stress to our people since they have more successful treatment rates in children than in adults.
This is because younger people respond better to cancer treatment compared to adults. Children, unlike adults, can handle the consumption of a large amount of chemotherapy and suffer few side effects. This is not the case with adults since most cancer patients have other underlying illnesses like diabetes that affect the effectiveness of cancer drugs.
The biggest challenge the country is facing as far as treating cancer in children is the lack of public awareness about the disease. In comparison to other infections, it can be treated and cured unlike like HIV. However, so many people in rural areas decide to treat it using herbs.
Countrywide, 7,000 new childhood cancer cases are recorded. Few of them ever make it to Uganda Cancer Institute for treatment especially from rural areas. The institute gets less than 1000 patients a year for treatment due to various reasons.
With such statistics, survivor-ship camps as these give evidence to the public that cancer is curable. They also help expand knowledge, experience, and social identity and create a sense of belonging among patients.
Also read: MTN Uganda Joins the Rotary Cancer Run
Author: Moses Echodu
Moses is a freelance writer for Newslibre and Programs Manager at the Craft Silicon Foundation. He loves writing about sports, politics and news around the globe and Inspiring new young people!!