Doctor raises concern over increasing number of children with cancer


THE number of children with cancer recorded at the Port Moresby General Hospital (PMGH) is increasing every year but there are still many children with cancer in communities, a doctor says.
Acting paediatric coordinator Dr Gwenda Anga said children with cancer were treated with the adults but were moved to their own ward in 2015.
“In the last five years, it is estimated that around 300 children with cancer were seen at the hospital,” she said.
“Initially, we had 20-30 per year and then it went up to 50-60 per year.
“But we are still missing a lot of children.
“The increasing numbers is due to more awareness among health workers in recognising the signs and symptoms and referring them for further care.
“About 30 per cent of our children successfully complete treatment.” Dr Anga said it was important that children were brought to the hospital early to receive the treatment available.
She said the treatment for each childhood cancer was different and the regimes ranged from three months to two years – depending on the diagnosis.
Dr Anga said treatments available at PMGH were for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (cancer of the lymphoid line of blood cells), retinoblastoma (eye cancer), Wilms tumour (kidney cancer), lymphomas, germ cell tumours and rhabdomyosarcomas (cancer that forms in soft tissue).