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World Cancer Day: “No innocent children should die of cancer without the chance for treatment”

On this World Cancer Day (4th February), we are reminded that cancer is a disease the unfairly touches the lives of so many children.

Retinoblastoma is a cancer of the eye that most commonly affects young children, and rarely adults. Retinoblastoma is a malignant tumor arising from the retina of the eyes. Some retinoblastoma cases originate from a faulty gene in the retina, but for many cases the cause is unknown. It occurs mainly in children under 5 years old of age and rarely in children older than 6 years. Without correct treatment, it is fatal.

The common presentation of retinoblastoma is leukocoria or commonly-called ‘cat’s eyes’. Usually children presenting with cat’s eyes are generally healthy and have no eye discharge or pain. Because there are usually no other symptoms, parents often delay to seek medical attention for the child.

Many people believe that if children are affected by cancer, they will die. But that is not true. If children with retinoblastoma are diagnosed early and receive the proper treatment, the cure rate is more than 90%.

AHC started its cancer program in October 2013. Since then we have seen an increasing number of retinoblastoma cases; from 6 cases in 2013 to 23 cases in 2016. We received referred retinoblastoma patients from Khmer Russian Friendship Hospital, Angdoung Hospital, Takeo’s Eyes Hospital, Kean Kleang Hospital and other referral hospitals around the country.

The facilities available at AHC right for retinoblastoma treatment include the pediatric eye clinic, systemic chemotherapy, laser and cryo-therapy, family support and, importantly, all treatments are free of charge.

Every single day that treatment is delayed for children with cancer can cost them their lives. “No innocent children should die of cancer, without the chance for treatment”.

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