February 15, 2021
On the International Day Against Childhood Cancer, Esmeralda Leon, Pediatric Oncologist of our clinic, gives us some insights into this disease.
In Peru, it is estimated that 1,800 new cases of childhood cancer are registered every year, from which 1,350 are officially diagnosed. 450 children and adolescents will die without knowing that they suffered from this disease. Unfortunately, 60% of the children arrive in advanced stages, which reduces the possibility of a cure.
Dr. Leon points out that cancer in children and adolescents is not preventable like other pathologies, but if it is detected early and timely treatment is received, the possibility of a cure is high. Herein lies the importance of taking the children to their medical check-ups, especially if they have risk factors associated with neoplasms.
Paleness, unexplained bruising, persistent fever for more than 7 days for no apparent reason, behavioral changes, increasing headaches with vomiting and nausea, loss of appetite, weight loss or fatigue during the last 3 months, white pupils, recent strabismus, swollen glands larger than 2 cm for more than 3 weeks, are some of the warning signs of possible childhood cancer. In these cases, you should have your children examined by a trained specialist as soon as possible.
The specialist explains that contrary to what is thought, childhood cancer has a higher survival rate, more chances of being cured, and treatment is better tolerated by children and adolescents. In developed countries, the cure rate can be as high as 80%; however, in our country, it is highly variable between 30 and 90%, depending on the pathology.
In this sense, he refers that it is very important to improve access and comprehensive patient care, which involves from the suspicion of the disease, through an early diagnosis, timely treatment, adequate recovery to the training of health care professionals who care for children, and population awareness about this disease.
Dr. Esmeralda León
Pediatric Oncologist at Clínica Ricardo Palma