Children diagnosed late


MANY children with cancer in Papua New Guinea are diagnosed when they are in the late stage of the disease, doctors say.
Port Moresby General Hospital (PMGH) general pediatric surgeon Dr Jack Mulu said in other countries, children were taken to the hospital earlier, diagnosed and treated appropriately.
“For our setting they come at a very late presentation,” he said.
Dr Mulu was speaking during the childhood cancer awareness month celebration at the PMGH children’s cancer ward on Friday.
“It has been very challenging managing these cases,” he said.
“Sometimes we just say we open the patient up, it goes beyond the operative, we say we can’t go any more because it’s inoperable.
“Sometimes, when it is operable, we do everything under the sun and then we say we’ve done everything under the sun.
“With prognosis, sometimes they do well, sometimes they don’t but we continue and provide services.
“We do what we can.”
Dr Mulu said they had problems, shortfalls and limitations, but doctors at PMGH always did their best to treat and care for patients.
He said there were three pediatric surgeons in the country at the moment and three more were undergoing training.
He said it was important to think about the other parts of the country as well and they hoped to train more doctors in the future.
PMGH acting pediatric coordinator Dr Gwenda Anga said there were 40-60 children with cancer coming through PMGH yearly and 20 were on treatment currently.
She said every September, the team from PMGH led awareness in the community but due to Covid-19 that was not done this year.
Dr Anga said awareness on childhood cancer was important to help the parents bring their children to the hospital in time to save them.