Health experts have stressed on early detection and timely screening of leukaemia (a type of blood cancer) and emphasised that there’s a dire need to aware public regarding the disease to fight cancer in children.
Head of the infectious disease unit at the Children’s Hospital, PIMS Dr Maqbool Hussain defined ‘leukaemia’ as a type of blood cancer. He said that it begins when bone marrow rapidly starts to produce abnormal white blood cells called leukaemia cells. One of the most common types of cancer among children is blood cancer which needs early intervention and treatment, he added.
Most of the cases in Pakistan go unreported in children and are not diagnosed on the time due to the lack of awareness, this is a major concern, he stressed.
While talking about blood cancer, Rizwan Taj, DIN at PIMS, said that prolonged fever for over one month and bone aches are one of the most common symptoms. Similarly, constant weight loss, bleeding from the nose, and low blood platelet levels indicate the severity of the disease which needs early detection and treatment, he added.
“People should not lose hope upon the diagnosis of leukaemia as we are offering comprehensive treatment plans for various types of blood cancers including leukaemia. Treatment of these cancers depends on the type of blood cancer,” he added.
In complicated cases where aggressive treatment is required, we have the facility of bone marrow transplants, he said, adding, that a lot of blood and blood products are required and we are able to fulfill this demand with the help of volunteer blood donors,” he added.
Assistant professor, Head of Oncology Department of Children’s Hospital at PIMS, Dr Nuzhat Yasmeen said that cancer remains a major threat to people’s health in Pakistan and around the world, adding, that prevention of cancer includes providing healthy food to children, following a healthy lifestyle and regular exercise. Playing sports is also beneficial.
She further said that “World leukaemia Day” is celebrated in the month of September every year with an aim of raising awareness about cancer in children, early diagnosis, and treatment options.
She said that blood cancer is a treatable disease but we need to create awareness among the people so that if there are any abnormal changes such as weight loss in children, skin discoloration, severe pain, swelling in any part of the body, gland, or tumor, it would be easily be diagnosed.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 6th, 2022.