​​Young SCRF 2023 visitors taught how to detect canceramongst children early

 Friends Of Cancer Patients (FOCP) educate parents, teachers and young students
about seven symptoms of childhood cancers to help detect and beat the disease early

For immediate release
Sharjah, May 10, 2023

Young boys and girls and their parents and teachers visiting the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF) are being sensitised and empowered by UAE-based civil society organisation Friends Of Cancer Patients (FOCP) to identify seven common symptoms for early detection of cancer amongst children.

These include pallor, bruising or bleeding, general bone pain; lumps or swelling especially if painless and without fever or other signs of infection; unexplained weight loss or fever, persistent cough, shortness of breath or sweating at night; eye changes – white pupil, new-onset squint, visual loss, bruising or swelling around the eyes; abdominal swelling; headaches especially if unusually persistent or severe and vomiting, especially early mornings or one that worsens over days; limb or bone pain, swelling without trauma or signs of infection.

“Our main aim is to educate the children about cancer amongst their age group. Early detection is crucial to prevent this serious disease among children under 15, which is why more needs to be done to spread awareness. We are doing so here by telling everyone visiting the festival – teachers, parents, admin staff, children all included – about the warning signs they should be watching out for,” said Mariam Al Harmoodi, the head of Community Affairs at FOCP that’s organising the Ana children’s health programme at the Sharjah Expo Centre under their Kashf umbrella for early detection of cancer.

“As part of this initiative, we aim to reach out to at least 5,000 children across the country and especially the emirate of Sharjah with our message this year and we would want to talk to as many children as we can during these three days at the festival,” said Al Harmoodi while offering expert information on some common cancer symptoms children must watch out for.

“This is critical because the earlier the cancer is detected, the more treatable it is and the greater chances the child has for successful treatment. Although the signs depend on the type of cancer and its location in the body, timely diagnosis can significantly improve the child’s prognosis. A huge majority of childhood cancers have recognizable warning signs, something that we have tried to highlight with our interactive workshop for anybody that’s walking into our corner at this festival,” she added. “What amazed me most during my interactions with the children is that most of them knew about cancer but many thought it was about hair loss because that’s the first remarkable difference they see in a person going through cancer treatment. I am glad we have been able to educate them about this disease at this festival.”

Childhood cancer, if detected early, is highly curable, with a success rate as high as 80 per cent compared to 12 per cent in the sixties.

FOCP is participating in SCRF 2023 with a physical presence at the Sharjah Council for Family Affairs (SCFA) pavilion, until May 14, and will continue to deliver informative sessions as well as host interactive workshops on the early detection of cancer.

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