Last month, South Africa commemorated Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, to honour those who are affected by cancer, The Cancer Association of South Africa (Cansa), in partnership with the City, lit up Table Mountain in gold in support of childhood cancer survivors, those battling cancer, and those who died.
The golden lights, the shade of the international awareness ribbon for childhood cancer, switched on at 8 pm yesterday for an hour. The aim of the event is to create awareness of childhood cancer, also to stand in solidarity with all children and teenagers currently fighting cancer
According to Provincial Cansa TLC (Tough Living with Cancer) co-ordinator, Anthea-Lynn Lewis, In previous years, 600 to 700 children were diagnosed with cancer each year in South Africa. Statistics show that about 1000 cases of childhood cancer are now reported annually, with a survival rate of 55%, said Lewis.
“We need to educate people more about the risk factors of cancer because why is it that the survival rate in developed countries is 80%, yet in SA it is only 55%, and many of our cancers are diagnosed at a late stage when it is normally put down as growing pains? So when cancer comes to the forefront, it is already at an advanced stage, which means treatment is starting late, therefore the chances of survival decreases, so we want people to be more aware,” explained Lewis.
She advised that when a child pointed out periodic pain or discomfort, the child should be checked immediately and a second opinion sought if needed. Choc Childhood Cancer Foundation Regional Manager, Lynette Muthuray said although there had been a significant increase of 1.56% in early detection over the past year, and a year-on-year increase of 35% in Choc beneficiaries, there was still a huge need for awareness and detection in South Africa.