SILUAN: The childhood cancer detection acronym everyone should know

Early detection is crucial for childhood cancers, which is why all parents and caregivers should know which signs to look out for. 

It’s every parent and carer’s worst nightmare – a diagnosis of childhood cancer. As much as many of us would like to block out such a horrible thought and pretend we live in a bubble where the dreaded “C-word” doesn’t get us, and especially not our smallest family members, it is unfortunately a harsh reality that many have to face.

The best way to deal with it is to educate ourselves and be vigilant and proactive in recognising potential signs to ensure that every child receives timely care to successfully fight cancer. 

Remember the acronym SILUAN to help parents and caregivers keep the following key factors that may indicate childhood cancer front of mind: 

S – Seek medical help early for ongoing symptoms.

I – White spot in the eye, new squint, sudden blindness, or bulging eyeball.

L – Lump in the stomach, pelvis, head, arms, legs, testicle, or glands.

U – Unexplained fever lasting over two weeks, weight loss, fatigue, pale appearance, easy bruising, and bleeding.

A – Aching bones, joints, back, and easy fractures.

N – Neurological signs, such as changes in walk, balance, speech, regression, persistent headaches (with or without vomiting), and an enlarged head.

CHOC childhood cancer detection acronym for parents and caregivers. Source: CHOC

If you notice any of the above signs or any other unusual symptoms in your child, speak to a medical professional immediately, as early diagnosis can significantly impact the outcome of childhood cancer. 

Healthcare professionals are urged to remain vigilant and to consider childhood cancer in their differential diagnosis when presented with these symptoms. Timely referral to paediatric oncology services is crucial for further evaluation and appropriate management.

For more information about childhood cancer and its early warning signs, visit CHOC. To refer a child or teenager showing these symptoms, click here.


For more on health and kids, visit Get It Magazine.

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