Every year in Spain about 1,100 children are diagnosed with cancer, of whom about 60 are in Malaga. The positive side of this is that nearly 80 per cent of them are cured. These figures were revealed recently in a moving event which took place on the steps outside the Materno Infantil hospital on the International Day against Child Cancer. Three girls (Deborah, Manal and Almudena) who have all recovered from tumor, read a statement in which they sent a message of hope to patients and their families and called for further research into treatments to beat the disease.
The event was attended by the provincial health delegate, Ana Isabel González; the manager of the Carlos Haya regionalhospital, Emiliano Nuevo; the director of the Materno hospital, Hilario López; councillors Julio Andrade and Estefanía Martín Palop and representatives of the United Development against Cancer group, which is formed by several associations, among others.
When the girls finished reading the statement, there was a mass release of balloons.
Paediatric oncologist Guiomar Gutiérrez said that last year 59 children were diagnosed with cancer at theMaterno hospital, 19 of them with acute leukemia and 40 with solid tumors. Dr Gutiérrez explained that the survival rate for children with cancer ranges from 75 to 80 per cent, five years after being diagnosed. She stressed how important it is for pediatricians to be able to identify the symptoms which could indicate that a child may be suffering from cancer.
Meanwhile haematologist Pedro Ruiz pointed out that the rate of cure for lymphoblastic leukemia, which is the most common type in children, can be as high as 90 per cent. He said that children are better able to withstand chemotherapy sessions than adults.
The provincial Health delegate pointed out that thanks to advances in treatments and the quality of public health care, a high percentage of children with cancer have overcome the illness. She paid tribute to the work of the professionals who treat child patients.
The manager of the Carlos Haya hospital also stressed that it is essential to make life as pleasant as possible for children during the time they have to stay at the Materno.