That Nephroblastoma was the leading diagnosis of child cancer in LUTH between July 2005 and January 2007

Some of the most common children cancers seen and treated at LUTH Hematology/ Oncology unit of the pediatric department and the statistics over a period of 18 months (July 2005 to January 2007) are as follows.

1 Nephroblastoma 62
2 Leukemia 35
3 Lymphoma 27
4 Neuroblastoma 23
6 Retinoblastoma 6
5 Rhabdomyosacoma 4
7 Nasopharyngial cancer 2
8 Sacrococcygial teratoma 1
9 Hepatoblastoma 1
Total 163

Male: 108 (66.3%)
Female: 55 (33.7%)

This is as against 540 admission made by the same unit which also caters for children living with HIV and sickle cell anemia among other illness, in the same 18 months period, i.e. 163 as against 540 (about 30% of the admissions)

Facts to Note

  • The types of cancers that occur most often in children are different from those seen in adults.
  • Leukemias, which are cancers of the bone marrow and blood, are the most common childhood cancers. They account for about 31% of all cancers in children.
  • Brain and central nervous system tumors are the second most common cancers in children, making up about 25% of childhood cancers.
  • Neuroblastoma starts in early forms of nerve cells found in a developing embryo or fetus. About 6% of childhood cancers are neuroblastomas. This type of cancer occurs in infants and young children.

  • Wilmstumor starts in one, or rarely, both kidneys. It is most often found in children about 3 to 4 years old, and is uncommon in children older than age 6. It can show up as a swelling or lump in the belly.
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma starts in cells that normally develop into skeletal muscles. These are the muscles that we control to move parts of our body. This type of cancer can start in the head and neck, groin, belly, pelvis, or in an arm or leg. It may cause pain, swelling (a lump), or both. This is the most common type of soft tissue sarcoma in children. It makes up about 3% of childhood cancers.
  • Retinoblastoma is a cancer of the eye. It accounts for about 2% of childhood cancers. It usually occurs in children around the age of 2, and is seldom found in children older than 6.
  • Osteosarcoma accounts for about 3% of all new childhood cancers. It is most common in teens, and usually develops in areas where the bone is growing quickly, such as near the ends of the long bones in the legs or arms. It often causes bone pain that gets worse at night or with activity. It can also cause swelling in the area around the bone.

A note from Dr. Nwobbi

Cancer is a disease that affects both men and women, young and old. However, the fact is that cancer scourge also affects even children. This fact is usually so difficult for many people to come in terms with. Children do have cancers too. However, what is heart-warming about childhood cancers is that it is curable if detected early, diagnosed and dealt with promptly.

Cancer whether in adults or in children is an expensive ailment. The high cost of treatment is fuelled by late detection so if it is detected on time, it’s easier and cheaper to cure. Our foundation mission is based basically on creating awareness, provision of chemotherapy, providing medications for the affected children as well as providing counselling for the children and their families. We also assist in funding overseas medical trips where necessary in some cases. We are making progress .we have not recorded any defaulter in chemotherapy this year.

Success is the the steady progress to the goal… let’s keep striving!
Dr Nneka Nwobbi .