Mah: Cong of child cancer specialists from Nov 1

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Mumbai, Oct 26: For the first time, the 39th International Congress of Pediatric Oncology will be held in the metropolis at the National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA) here from November 1 to 3, where child cancer specialists from all over the world will present their research papers.

The ceremony will be inaugurated on October 31 at the Jamshedji Bhabha Theatre, NCPA by Maharashtra Governor S M Krishna.

Speaking to reporters here yesterday, Tata Memoral Hospital In-charge (Pediatric Oncology) Professor Purna Kurkure gave some disturbing statistics.

''It is estimated that 1,60,000 kids around the world are diagnosed with cancer each year. Eighty per cent of all kids with cancer live in developing countries where access to effective therapy is limited and the disease is often detected too late or not at all.'' ''Although the signs and symptoms depend upon the type of cancer and location within the body, at least 85 per cent of child cancer is associated with some warning sign such as swollen head, white glow in eye, prolonged and unexplained fever, unsual abdominal mass or swelling, easy bruises and unexplained bleeding, to name a few,'' she said.

The common cancers that occur in children are leukemia (blood cancer), cancer of lymphnodes (lymphoma), central nervous system (brain tumour), sympathetic nervous system (neurobalstoma), kidney (Wilm's Tumor) and bones/muscles (sarcoma). For treating these cancers, chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy are mostly used in combination, depending on the type and stage of cancer. Early diagnosis will pick up early stage disease, which requires simple treatment and yields high success rate, informed Dr Kurkure.

On a concluding note, Bombay Hospital Consultant Pediatrician (Pediatric Hematology Oncology) Dr Rashmi Dalvi said ''Any advance research in health care system is only valuable if it is available and accessible to those who need it. Only 15 to 20 per cent kids with cancer are in the net for treatment in India mainly due to lack of diagnosis and access to treatment, which is socially and financially very taxing to parents.'' ''Dedicated pediatric cancer units are very few and exist only in big cities. There is a great paucity of trained paediatric oncologists in the country as there is no formal training programme.

The family dislocation for cancer treatment to a new city, cost of to and fro travel, added financial burden of treatment, loss of livelihood of the parents, and problem of care of other siblings make the compliance to treatment a real challenge,'' she explained.


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