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5 new cases of cancer in children reported in Tonga annually

The Ministry of Health has recorded 5 new cases of child cancer every year in Tonga for the five period 2009-2013.
Pediatric Specialist of Vaiola Hospital – Dr. Siaosi ‘Aho says these are children under 15 years of age and majority are boys.
Sadly about 70% of the victims did not make it, though the Ministry had done its best to save their lives.
Victims are diagnosed with various types of cancers mainly leukemia.
Dr Aho told Radio Tonga that there are also cases of brain tumors and bone cancer among children.
“One of the big challenges we face in dealing cancer in Tonga is getting parents and guardians to bring their sick children to the hospital in a timely manner,” Dr Aho said.
“Well too often a simple swelling for example on someone’s knee is taken to mean that this is some kind of infection, they would then pursue treatment as such until they present a month later with what looks like a rugby ball on the knee as they walk in the door. Now the fact we cannot help and treat everybody does not mean that they should not come to the hospital. We tried ourselves in offering the best that could be offered in terms of treatments locally or abroad to everyone but for those we cannot offer such treatments there is no need to walk away because we provide care particularly pain relief for some of these people. Some of these cancers can be really be painful and some of them skin would break and negligence and became really offensive and a lot of pain.”
A 16-year-old leukemia cancer survivor – ‘Alaimoana Kupu of Kolofo’ou praised the Lord for giving her another chance to live again.
She said the struggle is hard and being in that situation strengthens your relationship with the Lord as well as your families.  She urges every patient to be strong and have faith in the Lord because he has got everything under control.
‘Alaimoana also thanked her family, doctors and the Child Cancer Foundation for all the tireless efforts in supporting and encouraging her during her difficult journey.  She’s now a form 5 student of ‘Apifo’ou College.
The Child Cancer Foundation of Tonga hosted a prayer service this month at the FWC in Havelu to commemorate its 10th anniversary.
Source: Radio Tonga
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