Durban miracle child beats rare cancer disease

She was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer, Rhabdomysarcoma, which 87 percent of the time occurs in patients younger than 15-years-old.

Fourteen-year-old Jacinta Akurungu has been given a new lease on life after she was cleared of all traces of cancer following a successful medical procedure at Parklands Hospital in Durban this week.

Jacinta, who hails all the way from Ghana, was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer, Rhabdomysarcoma, which 87% of the time occurs in patients younger than 15-years-old, Rising Sun Overport reported.

This is one of many success stories of children suffering with cancer.

Her victory against the disease comes as the month of September is observed as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

This is a time when globally, countries honour and remember children and families affected by this rare disease and help create awareness on the early warning signs of Childhood Cancer.

Jacinta and her mother, Faustina, were ecstatic when the doctor told them the news. In June, they arrived in South Africa to get the treatment.

“We arrived in South Africa with hope that my daughter would get treatment and be better after two misdiagnoses in our home country. When we arrived, she was on stage four cancer and had to be taken to theatre. She was very sick, but now we thank God that she is now healed and cleared of the condition. We had hope and never gave up. I teared up when my daughter thanked the doctor and said, thank you for not giving up on me,” said Akurungu.

Local paediatric haematologist and specialist paediatrician, Dr M Vaithilingum, has encouraged parents and child minders to always have hope, never give up courage and keep fighting as cancer can be beaten.

Dr Vaithilingum is based at Parklands Hospital in Overport and has vast experience in the profession.

She said,“The importance of highlighting Childhood Cancer is to ensure early referral and diagnosis and therefore a better outcome. We are still receiving late referrals and children presenting with delays and more advanced stages of cancer. We need to place more awareness on the possible early signs of cancer. Some of which are persistent symptom of loss of weight, decreased activity, unexplained fever, swellings of lymph glands that are increasing in size, swellings on the limbs or in the abdomen, sudden limp, bone pain or backache, easy bruising, pallor or child appearing pale, sudden onset of abnormal walking, imbalance, early morning headaches and vomiting, sudden onset of a squint or a white spot in the eye.”

Dr Vaithilingum added that children presented with these symptoms need to be referred for assessment.

“Some of the signs can be very subtle and nonspecific, but if a symptom is unresolving it needs to be evaluated,” she said.

“We can treat cancer with drugs such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery and for some types with stem cell transplantation.There are many support groups – for example CANSA, CHOC and Reach for a Dream – that assist patients. Always have hope, never give up courage and keep fighting, because cancer can be beaten,” said Dr Vaithilingum.

Caxton News Service

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