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Treating childhood cancers in Fiji

Vishaal Kumar
Thursday, November 02, 2017

SEVENTY-SIX per cent of childhood cancers are treatable compared with 24 per cent which are non-treatable in the country.

This was revealed by Colonial War Memorial Hospital's pediatrician Dr Miriama Thaggard, who said childhood cancers were categorised when children below the age of 15 years old were being diagnosed with cancers.

"Childhood cancers account for only one per cent of total cancers in the world. There is an 80 per cent survival rate in developed countries," she said.

She said for cases in Fiji and the Pacific region, only certain forms of cancers were treatable.

"We can treat acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, lymphoma, Wilm's tumour, retinoblastoma, acute promyelocytic leukaemia (APML), hepatoblastoma and germ cell tumour," she said.

"The ones we cannot treat are neuroblastoma, soft tissue sarcoma, brain tumours and bone sarcomas."

Dr Thaggard said there were many reasons for treatment failure for childhood cancers in the country.

"Some of the recommendations we have is to establish a comprehensive National Pediatric Oncology Registry, strengthening awareness and early warning signs through the support of non-government organisations like WOWS Kids Fiji and the Fiji Cancer Society (FCS)," she said.

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