The Royal Hospital’s paediatric oncology department begins cancer awareness drive

September 27, 2017

The Department of Paediatric Oncology-Haematology at The Royal Hospital launched a first-ever children's cancer awareness campaign on Wednesday.

The event was attended by Dr Qasim al Salmi, director general of the hospital, Dr Bassim al Bahrani, director, National Oncology Centre, Dr Nawal al Mashaikhi, chairman, Cancer Awareness Campaign, guests and members of the paediatric oncology team.

Dr Nawal said, “We will be holding awareness drives in Muscat City Centre, events in healthcare facilities such as The Royal Hospital, Bausher and Seeb polyclinics, educational institutions and also campaigns through various media channels (newspapers, TV, radio and social media). The campaign will be supported by Al Hashar Group of companies.”

She said, “Under the wise leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, Oman has witnessed a significant improvement in the standards of living, and excellent healthcare facilities are available all over the country. This has resulted in a dramatic drop in the childhood mortality rate especially due to communicable diseases and other preventable causes. Now the challenge is to deal with non-communicable diseases especially childhood cancers.”

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in children (4–15yrs), next only to accidents, according to latest CDC (center for disease control) data.

In Oman, the most prevalent forms of cancer among children are leukaemia, lymphoma, brain tumour, neuroblastoma, tumour of kidney (Wilm's tumour) and bone tumours. The paediatric oncology ward at The Royal Hospital sees as many as 125 to 150 new cases of patients in the age category (0-13 years) every year.

Dr Nawal added, “We have a modern oncology centre and survival cases of Omani children affected with cancer has seen a quantum jump. Still there are cases where we fail, because it is cancer, but also it is due to delays in referral and compliance problems. We realised that unfortunately, our community, policy makers and healthcare professionals are not fully aware of the magnitude of this problem. In our efforts to improve the situation we decided to organise this first-ever campaign of children's cancer awareness.”

Dr Wasifuddin, a paediatric oncologist at The Royal Hospital said, “I am pleased to inform you that doctors, nurses and other staff from our department have worked tirelessly for months to organise this noble venture. All this effort was in addition to the heavy workload of patient care we have in the department.”

He added, “The National Oncology Centre is a part of The Royal Hospital and treats all sorts of cancers. We have state-of-the-art facilities. Since the deaths caused by cancer have gone up people feel that this disease prevails only in adults and not children.”