Nine-year-old Hope lives in Malawi and is the youngest of six children. In October 2016, her mother noticed a small pimple on Hope’s arm which soon developed into an open wound. Hope was taken to the village hospital by her mother, Teresa, but they were sent back home and told not to worry. When the wound started swelling, Hope was referred to the surgical ward at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH), which is supported by World Child Cancer, for further tests.
Hope spent two weeks on the surgical ward before a diagnostic procedure was undertaken. Several weeks later she was finally diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, a type of muscular cancer. After the diagnosis, Hope was admitted to the Paediatric Oncology ward at QECH where she received chemotherapy.
In August 2017 she returned to the Paediatric Oncology ward under Dr George Chagaluka’s care. Due to the delay in Hope’s cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment, there is now a fear that the cancer may have spread to the lymph nodes under her arm. An assessment of Hope's tumour identified that in order to save her life, she may need her arm amputated. With earlier access to treatment this would not have been the case, World Child Cancer is working to remove the barriers to treatment for children just like Hope in developing countries.
Hope is one of many children in developing countries who do not have quick and easy access to correct diagnosis and effective treatment. In Malawi, 66% of the 1000 children expected to develop cancer each year do not receive a diagnosis due to a lack of awareness for childhood cancer, high treatment costs or long distances to hospital for affected families.
Our twinning partnerships enable medical professionals in developed countries to exchange information with their counterparts in the developing world. This communication link is imperative to improving diagnosis and providing support to an already stretched healthcare system to reduce the number of children, like Hope, from being misdiagnosed.
Give the gift of growing up today by supporting children with cancer in developing countries. Just £25 could support the accurate diagnosis for one child, ensuring correct treatment and increasing their chance of survival.