300,000 each year across the world, while in Turkey, about 3,500 children are starting to fight cancer by taking the initial diagnosis. Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Specialist Dr. İbrahim Eker made statements on the occasion of February 15, Childhood Cancer Day.
Stating that childhood leukemias are the most common type of cancer in childhood, Dr. Eker said lymph node cancers and central nervous system tumors follow leukemias. Pointing out that cancers seen in children differ from adult cancers in terms of type, response to treatment and survival, Dr. Eker also noted that the cause-and-effect relationship of childhood cancers is not as clear as cancers seen in adults and that there is no known screening program.
Dr. Eker said: “Regular follow-up of healthy children; attention of families and physicians who follow the children, early diagnosis of childhood cancers increase the success rate in treatment. The main symptoms are: Loss of appetite, anemia, rapid weight loss, bone pain, swelling in the lymph nodes in the neck, armpit and groin area, imbalance, gait disturbance, visual disturbance, pupil shine, eye crossing, bleeding under the skin, nose and gums bleeding, fever unexplained for other reasons, cough that continues despite inflammation treatment, shortness of breath, blood in urine, urine and difficulty in defecation. In the presence of such symptoms, care should be taken, and the nearest health institution should be consulted.
With the development of multidisciplinary treatment approaches over the years, advances in chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery have increased the survival rates in childhood cancers in our country. At AFSU, besides our 4 pediatric hematology and oncology experts, dozens of physicians, nurses, healthcare workers and administrative staff in pediatric health and diseases sub-branches, laboratory branches, radiation oncology, nuclear medicine and surgery branches, including the diagnosis of childhood cancers and bone marrow transplantation, AFSU is one of the rare centers that can perform its treatment with the latest technology and scientific infrastructure required by the age. We are happy to be able to provide the highest level of service required by the age at AFSU to our pediatric cancer patients who apply to our center both from all over our country and from outside our country.
According to the analysis of national data, the 5-year survival rate in all childhood cancers is around 70 percent. This result is 70-80 percent in developed countries. The goal is to be able to catch 80 percent. To this end, efforts are underway to increase awareness of childhood cancers across the country. Increasing awareness will increase early diagnosis and treatment success in the disease and raise awareness of parents and children about prevention methods and symptoms. As the awareness of childhood cancers increases and the rapid and early access to the physician becomes easier, the success of treatment will increase over the years.
The high treatment success and the expected life expectancy of the children make early and effective treatment, access to the best service, quality of life and psychosocial approach more important. Because of these reasons, it is very important and necessary to continue these efforts and struggles in every part of the society and not to limit for one day of the year in order for our children who have cancer to overcome this disease and to continue their lives in a healthy way, which is defined as a complete physical, mental and social well-being.”