These are the early warning signs of childhood cancer
The Cancer Association of SA (CANSA) urges parents to become aware of the early warning signs of child cancer.

The Cancer Association of SA (CANSA) has earmarked September as Childhood Cancer Awareness month, placing special focus on the early warning signs parents need to be mindful of as key to earlier diagnosis and successful treatment. 

Compared to the first world’s high treatment success rates - between 70% and 80%, South Africa lags behind. 

In a 2014 study, Childhood cancer survival rates in two South African units by Prof. David K. Stones et al, it was found that the SA’s survival rate is 52.1%. 

“It’s estimated that currently less than half of the children with cancer in South Africa are diagnosed and many of those who are diagnosed are already in the advanced stages of the illness. Early detection will go a long way in reducing the fatality rate, however this can only be done by creating greater awareness and instilling knowledge in parts of the healthcare system and with the public,” says CANSA CEO, Elize Joubert. 

Because their bodies are still developing, childhood cancers tend to impact the developing cells like bone marrow, blood, kidneys and nervous system tissues.

Based on statistics compiled between 2009 and 2013, the South African Children's Cancer Study Group (SACCSG) identified five childhood cancers with the greatest impact on SA's kids:

Early detection is key to the successful treatment

The warning signs

The Saint Siluan Warning Signs list is a large part of CANSA’s Childhood Cancer Awareness campaign,  citing early warning signs parents need to be aware of: 

St Siluan Warning Signs Childhood Cancer:

  • S – Seek medical help early for ongoing symptoms
  • I – White spot in the eye, new squint, sudden blindness or bulging eyeball
  • L – Lump on the stomach, pelvis, head, arms, legs, testicle or glands
  • U – Unexplained fever present for over two weeks, weight loss, fatigue, pale appearance, easy bruising & bleeding
  • A – Aching bones, joints, back and easy fractures
  • N – Neurological signs, a change in walk, balance or speech, regression, contiguous headaches with/without vomiting & enlarged head

Download CANSA's printable bookmark with the above red flags here

CANSA urges parents not to be hesitant in seeking medical assistance if their child exhibits any of these symptoms. 

For more information on TLC facilities in your region, online resources, care and support groups across the country, visit

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