Childhood Cancer Day: Expert says exposure to viral infections, radiation link to cancer
By Olasunkanmi Onifade
Abuja, Feb. 15, 2019 (NNN) Dr Victor Fayomi, a general medical practitioner with a private hospital at Gwagwalada, Abuja, says exposure to viral infections and radiation has been linked to childhood cancers.
Fayomi said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NNN) on Friday in Abuja to commemorate the International Childhood Cancer Day (ICCD).
The ICCD, which was founded in 2002 by the Childhood Cancer International (CCI), is celebrated globally each year on Feb. 15
This year’s campaign focuses on “No More Pain’’ and “No More Loss’’ for children with cancer and their families.
He said childhood cancers does not have direct causes, saying there are some factors associated with increased risk of developing them.
“These include certain medical conditions, for instance babies born with Downs syndrome are more likely to develop childhood leukaemia.
“Certain developmental problems in the womb during a baby’s pregnancy can lead to some cancers of the eyes and kidney in them.
“Genetic mutation has also been linked to retinoblastoma, a type of eye cancer,” Fayomi said.
He said previous treatment of cancer with chemotherapy also increases the risk of developing new cancers in children.
Fayomi said progressive unexplained weight loss; constant untreatable headaches, poor appetite, easy bruising and bleeding are some symptoms of childhood cancers.
“Other things that raise these suspicions include abdominal swelling and pain, and lymph node swelling. Frequent infections could also be a pointer.
“While a good number of adult cancers can be prevented by ensuring lifestyle modifications, preventive measures are rare in children.
“This is because genetic mutation or developmental problems in the womb during pregnancy cannot be prevented,” he said.
Fayomi said treating a child who has cancer with chemotherapy has no alternative for now in the medical world, adding chemotherapy itself been a risk for developing another cancer.
He however advised that children who are otherwise healthy should not be exposed to radiation sources.
Fayomi said cancers are only mostly successfully treated when detected very early.
“No More Pain” and “No More Loss” is call for early treatment on general medical conditions in children where the cases of cancer can be quickly diagnosed.
He also called on government and NGOs to invest more in research about childhood cancers as these should not be a death sentence to any affected child. (NNN)
Edited by Muhammad Suleiman Tola
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