City of Joburg’s health department is joining the world in commemorating Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, symbolised by wearing a gold ribbon
The City of Joburg’s health department is joining the world in commemorating Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, symbolised by wearing a gold ribbon.

“Access to healthcare is a constitutional right. We should put more effort in improving diagnosis, access to best treatment and care, as well as quality support for children with cancer and their families,” said the city’s member of the mayoral committee for health and social development, Mpho Phalatse.

According to the Child Cancer Association, 80% of all child cancer cases, globally, occur in low and middle-income countries, and survival rates are as low as 10% in low-income countries compared to 80% in high-income countries.

Currently, between 800 and 1 000 South African children are diagnosed with cancer annually, she said.

However, it’s estimated that half of the children with cancer in South Africa are misdiagnosed or never diagnosed.

Other factors contributing towards low survival rates include a lack of awareness and understanding of childhood cancer; the inability of local healthcare workers to spot early warning signs and symptoms; as well as the treatment cost.

“No children should be left to die of cancer when they can be cured with relatively simple and affordable treatments,” added Phalatse.

The awareness month highlights some forms of cancer that are mainly seen in children.

Awareness, education and support are vital.

“I challenge all members of the community to make a difference by donating as little as R20 and receive a gold ribbon,” said Phalatse.

Ribbons can be purchased from the Childhood Cancer Foundation of SA, the Cancer Association of South Africa as well as Pick n Pay.