Tygerberg Hospital's effective oncology treatment improves the outcomes of childhood cancer: This is 10-year-old Razia’s story

Razia, now aged 10, looks the picture of health, but it has been a long journey treating her childhood cancer. Picture: Supplied/ Tygerberg Hospital

Razia, now aged 10, looks the picture of health, but it has been a long journey treating her childhood cancer. Picture: Supplied/ Tygerberg Hospital

Published Sep 20, 2023


The Tygerberg Hospital's oncology treatment unit has improved the life of 10-year-old Razia Wilson who was diagnosed with Stage 4 neuroblastoma at a young age.

Razia, from Valhalla Park, fell ill in 2015 and was diagnosed with Stage 4 neuroblastoma. She is now excelling at school, more than five years later.

Stage 4 neuroblastoma is extremely difficult to treat and cure; therefore, she had intensive chemotherapy, followed by a surgical resection and further chemotherapy at Tygerberg Hospital.

Razia at age three when she underwent chemotherapy at the hospital. Picture: Supplied/ Tygerberg Hospital

"It spreads early and widely to other areas of the body. Most children already have metastatic or widespread disease when they are diagnosed with this cancer," said Laticia Pienaar, Tygerberg Hospital spokesperson.

Pienaar further stated that the cause is not known. It commonly develops in the adrenal gland, which is located on top of the kidney, or anywhere along the spine where a chain of nerve tissue is located. It can spread to the bone marrow, brain, liver, and bones.

Dr Anel Van Zyl, a paediatric oncologist at Tygerberg Hospital said: “Razia is in complete remission and is doing very well. She attends the paediatric oncology survivor clinic at Tygerberg Hospital every year to monitor her health”.

Lameez Wilson, Razia’s mother, said: "When Razia was two years old, I took her to the local clinic because she had the following symptoms: high fever, loss of weight, and no appetite. Her fever persisted for several weeks.

"Out of desperation, I took her to a private doctor, who referred us to Bishop Lavis Day Hospital, which in turn immediately called an ambulance, and we were rushed to Tygerberg Hospital. By this time, Razia had a swollen stomach.

"Several tests were done at the hospital, and various doctors examined her. When the doctors told me my child had cancer, I was shocked and cried for days. I eventually stopped being strong for my daughter. My mother was very supportive during this time and is still our pillar of strength.

“We never gave up and prayed continuously. When Razia had her first operation to remove the tumour, I was very emotional. Today, Razia is doing great in school, and her favourite subject is mathematics. She is very shy around strangers and friendly around friends and family. She is also playful, curious, and inquisitive.”

Van Zyl further concluded: "It is important to teach the early warning signs of childhood cancer to the community and all healthcare workers so children may receive the necessary medical care and be diagnosed early. The earlier they are diagnosed, the better the prognosis usually is. Childhood cancer is very different from adult-type cancers and, therefore, responds better to chemotherapy, leading to better outcomes."

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