February 15 – International Childhood Cancer Day (Garrahan Foundation)

According to Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)In Latin America and the Caribbean, one in 360 children and adolescents is diagnosed with cancer each year (29,000). Faced with this reality and the International Childhood Cancer Day as day indicated, the work carried out by the Garrahan Househand in hand with Garrahan Foundationfurther reinforces its importance. Since their opening, they have received more than 30,000 patients, most of whom suffer from the most complex chronic pathologies, such as oncological diseasesand their companions.

It’s a home away from home“, he underlined in dialogue with GlobeLiveMedia Silvia Kassab, Executive Director of the Garrahan Foundation. As he explained, since its inauguration on March 25, 1997, it has provided “accommodation and support to children and adolescents and their companions, who undergo outpatient treatment in the three pediatric hospitals of the city of Buenos Aires, which do not require hospitalization, but they must be close to these assistance centers”.

Within its walls, in addition to much love and support, there is an important work of a team of professionals, assistants and volunteers who, since its opening, “received more than 30,000 patients, who most often suffer from the most complex chronic pathologies and their companions”. “In any case, the accommodation provided has no cost to the health system or to the patients,” Kassab said.

Garrahan House is located at 1731 Pichincha Street and is home to dozens of families per year
Garrahan House is located at 1731 Pichincha Street and is home to dozens of families per year

Those who stay at Casa Garrahan receive everything they need for their stay with an essential dedication to the strengthening and revaluation of all the healthy aspects that must be taken care of in child-patients, which is why the leisure, learning and teaching spaces for families where the questions of ‘self-care and health education are addressed are valuable,’ said the director. And within its walls it shelters, month after month, dozens of mothers, fathers, grandparents or relatives who accompany their children in the process of medical care.

Casa Garrahan is sustainable thanks to the solidarity contributions of companies, institutions and the community through its Sponsors program, which are sustainable over time since several of them have accompanied us since its creation; since this space was created by the Garrahan Foundation on March 21, 1988, on the initiative of hospital doctors.

The objective set by the professionals was to be able to meet the needs of the pediatric institution with the conviction that “health is a right that must be concentrated”. And this ideal that they established at those beginnings has now grown and promoted, hand in hand with the Garrahan Foundation, research, training, infrastructure, containment and assistance projects for both the team of professionals and for the population.

Each year, 29,000 children and adolescents are diagnosed with cancer in the Americas and the Caribbean / (iStock)
Each year, 29,000 children and adolescents are diagnosed with cancer in the Americas and the Caribbean / (iStock)

For his part, in the International Childhood Cancer Day, from PAHO, they have sought to raise awareness of this pathology through the campaign: “In your hands”, which aims to alert parents, caregivers and health professionals in Latin America and the Caribbean to the first signs of the most common childhood and adolescent cancers, to improve timely diagnosis and treatment outcomes. In addition to highlighting the importance of support in the face of these pathologies.

Dr. Anselm Hennis, Director of PAHO’s Department of Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health, noted that “in Latin America and the Caribbean, nearly 29,000 children and adolescents are diagnosed with cancer every year; And although the overall regional survival rate for childhood cancer is currently 55%, it varies considerably from country to country.

In this sense, as the Pan American Health Organization points out, “in the countries with the lowest incomes in the region, children and adolescents suffer from survival rates as low as 20%, while those in countries those on the highest incomes face very different survival probabilities, which range up to 80%”. This disparity is linked to diagnostic delays, lack of specialized care, limited access and availability of essential cancer drugs and preventable mortality from infections.

Early diagnosis increases chances of recovery, experts say / EFE/Ángel Medina G.
Early diagnosis increases chances of recovery, experts say / EFE/Ángel Medina G.

“Although childhood cancer cannot be prevented, most of these cancers can be cured if caught early,” Hennis said. And he added: “Giving parents and carers the information they need to sound the alarm is crucial to ensuring a quick diagnosis.” For this reason, they indicated that the most common types of childhood cancer are acute lymphoblastic leukemia, Burkitt’s lymphoma, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Wilms tumor, retinoblastoma and low-grade glioma, which account for up to 60% of all childhood cancers.

In that vein, they pointed out that the most common symptoms are fatigue, unexplained bruising, bumps or swelling, loss of appetite, persistent headache, dizziness and vomiting, and bone pain. “The six most common childhood cancers have unique characteristics, with early detectable signs and symptoms, and are highly curable with proven therapies,” said Marcela Zubieta, Latin American network manager for Childhood Cancer International.

Continue reading:

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The recovery of children and adolescents with cancer also depends on their mental health
At least 300,000 children and adolescents worldwide are diagnosed with cancer each year, warns PAHO

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